A Wakayama representative of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has urged the prefecture’s governor, Yoshinobu Nisaka, not to start a community consultation on Wakayama’s District Development Plan for a casino resort until details of the project consortium and how it will be funded have been made clear to the public.
The call came on Wednesday, the first day of a question-and-answer session between assembly members and the Wakayama government regarding local policy on a casino project, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
Clairvest Neem Ventures KK is the winning consortium of a request-for-proposal scheme for the proposed creation in Wakayama of an integrated resort (IR).
The prefectural government had said last month it would delay issuing the draft District Development Plan, until the mentioned issues were clarified.
United States-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment Inc had in September said it would – albeit with “no capital commitment” – be a partner in the Clairvest Neem Ventures consortium.
In order to be able to present the draft of Wakayama’s District Development Plan, the “most important things” to be clarified were who would go ahead with the project – i.e., form the consortium – and how the grouping would “raise funds for the development,” said the LDP representative.
The budget for the Wakayama project is put at JPY470 billion (US$4.14 billion). Up to three casino resorts will be permitted in Japan under the liberalisation process.
The LDP spokesperson in the Wakayama assembly noted that the party “strongly requests that the prefecture should present and explain the draft to the people in the prefecture,” only when the consortium structure and funding were “fixed for sure”.
The LDP is the majority party in Wakayama’s prefectural assembly, as well as being the lead grouping at national-government level. The LDP has supported the creation of large-scale casino complexes as a way of boosting inbound tourism to Japan.
An anti-casino community group in Wakayama said in late November it had enough petition signatures from local voters for the right to ask the government for a referendum motion on whether the city should aim to host a casino resort.
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