The Kyushu Governors’ Association and the Kyushu Regional Strategy Council have officially approved the establishment of the Kyushu IR Council, with the aim of ensuring the local economy and local businesses benefit from any casino resort that might be built there. The promotional council is due to be set up early next year, according to an official statement sent to GGRAsia.
The decision by each body to support the promotional council was made at separate meetings held last week in Yamaguchi city. The term integrated resort, or “IR” is used in Japan to denote large-scale casino complexes with associated tourism facilities.
According to the statement, the Kyushu IR Council “aims to create business opportunities and promote local procurement by building business networking strategies”. It will comprise representatives from “economic organisations, local government and councils of Nagasaki prefecture and the Kyushu region.”
The Kyushu Governors’ Association previously endorsed Nagasaki prefecture (pictured in a file photo) as the representative of that Japanese region in its tilt at a casino resort. Nagasaki would like to put such a resort on a circa 31-hectare (76.6-acre) site at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo city
Nagasaki prefecture attracted three potential private-sector suitors when it held an earlier request-for-concept (RFC) phase for an integrated resort, from late in 2019 to January this year.
The governors’ 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.
The Kyushu Regional Strategy Council is an enlarged version of the governors’ association. It includes a number of representatives from the local business sector.
Last month, Japan’s national government said it planned to start accepting proposals for casino resorts from October 2021. The proposed closing date for such submissions – to be made by local governments – would be April 28, 2022. That is a delay of at least nine months in the process to introduce casino resorts in Japan, a decision the national government attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
A total of three casino resorts will be permitted nationally in a first phase of liberalisation. The policy has been presented as a form of stimulus for regional economies, in terms of drawing in tourists from overseas.
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