The Kyushu Governors’ Association has passed a resolution aiming to attract an integrated resort project to Nagasaki prefecture. The resolution was approved on Tuesday, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
The association represents the governors of the seven prefectures on Japan’s Kyushu island – namely Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima. The body also represents the governors respectively of the nearby Yamaguchi prefecture on the largest Japanese island, Honshu; and the governor of Okinawa, the largest of Japan’s most southerly islands.
Other members include: the chairman of the Kyushu Economic Federation; the chairmen of the Federation of Kyushu Chambers of Commerce and Industry; the Committee of Kyushu Keizai Doyukai; and the chairman of the Kyushu Employer’s Association.
Kyushu is Japan’s third largest island. It has a population of about 13 million people and reportedly accounts for approximately 10 percent of the country’s economic output.
In April a deal was announced between the operator of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park and the governments of Sasebo city and Nagasaki prefecture, whereby land at the facility would be earmarked for a casino resort. The Huis Ten Bosch theme park (pictured in a file photo) – located in Sasebo – replicates famous buildings and architecture from the Netherlands, but in a semi-rural Japanese setting. There is no indication that the Kyushu Governors’ Association favours that plan.
Nagasaki prefecture might not be the sole bidder on Kyushu island for an integrated resort. Authorities in Kitakyushu, in Fukuoka prefecture, are reportedly also mulling vying for one of Japan’s first integrated resort licences.
Kitakyushu is an ordinance-level city, meaning it can directly submit a bid to the country’s central government to host an integrated resort.
Fukuoka prefecture, located on the north of Kyushu, is considered the economic and political heart of the island. Its capital, Fukuoka city, boasts a total population of 1.6 million people and is the largest city in Kyushu.
The term “integrated resort” or “IR” is used in Japan to describe large-scale gambling resorts with ancillary leisure facilities. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has endorsed the legalisation of such resorts as a stimulus for inbound tourism.
Three venues will be allowed in the first phase of casino legalisation in Japan. Those local governments qualified to apply to the national government for permission to host an IR – namely prefectures and ordinance-level cities – need to team with private-sector partners prior making their bid to the national government.
Japan’s Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Act, passed in July last year, stipulates that a so-called basic policy for the development of integrated resorts should be put forward within two years. According to media reports, the Abe administration is reportedly planning to delay issuing such basic policy to after an election for the House of Councillors – the upper chamber of country’s parliament – scheduled to take place in summer.
The basic policy is supposed, among other things, to set out the criteria the central authorities will use for choosing where casino resorts can be located.
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés