Apr 12, 2023 Newsdesk Japan, Latest News, Top of the deck
Japan’s cabinet could decide by Friday to approve Osaka’s plan for an integrated resort (IR) with casino, reported Japanese media.
According to Kyodo News agency, a plan by Nagasaki, the other applicant for an IR, might be subject to further assessment.
Both communities submitted their respective IR District Development Plans on April 27 last year. Osaka’s governor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, reaffirmed after his re-election in Sunday’s gubernatorial poll, the aim of “targeting to open an IR in 2029″.
Kyodo News said the national government would hold a meeting on Friday of the so-called Headquarters for the Promotion of Integrated Resorts, which is headed by Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida (pictured), to consult with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the department overseeing the IR applications.
According to the Osaka plan, a consortium including United States-based casino operator MGM Resorts International – majority owner of Macau concessionaire MGM China Holdings Ltd – will develop the Osaka resort in partnership with Japanese group Orix Corp.
It will be at Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, with the investment earmarked at JPY1.08 trillion (US$8.1 billion at current exchange rates). The developers aim to attract an estimated 20 million visitors per year, according to previously-disclosed information.
Bill Hornbuckle, chief executive and president of MGM Resorts, said in comments during the group’s fourth-quarter earnings call in early February, that the company would be be “challenged” in terms of a previously-stated aspiration to open a Japan gaming complex by 2029, “if we don’t hear soon” from the authorities there.
In late March Nagasaki governor Kengo Oishi – who last year described Credit Suisse Group AG as one of several potential “financial arrangers” for the community’s proposed casino resort project – said the authorities were still assessing what impact if any would arise from the bank’s takeover by UBS Group AG.
A figure of JPY438.3 billion (US$3.3 billion at current exchange rates) has been mentioned for the fundraising for the Nagasaki scheme. Commercial partners identified for the scheme include Casinos Austria International Japan Inc.
A public policy aim of Japan’s casino liberalisation policy was the creation of new meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) facilities to boost inbound tourism.
In 2016 Japan set the goal of hosting 60 million visitors annually by 2030. An October report by Schroders Capital, said the nation was maintaining its target of becoming a MICE destination as prominent as Singapore, notwithstanding the global disruption to travel and tourism caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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