Yuriko Koike (pictured in a file photo), the incumbent governor of Tokyo, won re-election on Sunday with nearly 60 percent of the vote, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
There has been commentary by observers of Japan’s process for permitting casino complexes, or integrated resorts (IRs), as such schemes are known in that country, that her return to office could open the way for Tokyo to put itself forward as a candidate city to host one.
Consultancy firm Global Market Advisors LLC (GMA) said in an April research paper it thought it was “not a matter of if, but when” Tokyo would announce itself as a contender. Three IR schemes will be permitted in Japan in a first wave of market liberalisation. Other big cities already in contention include Osaka and Yokohama.
‘The addition of Tokyo could cause several operators and prefectures to potentially rethink their strategy” regarding the casino resort issue, GMA asserted.
According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, Ms Koike, who is affiliated with a regional political grouping called Tomin First no Kai, received on Sunday 59.7 percent of votes. Prior to her return to office for another four-year term, she had not given any clear commitment to the idea of an IR.
Among the nearly two dozen candidates she faced on Sunday, several prominent contestants were clearly against having an IR in Tokyo.
Two anti-IR candidates were: Kenji Utsunomiya, a former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, supported by the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party; and Taro Yamamoto, a former lawmaker and leader of a grouping called Reiwa Shinsengumi. Mr Utsunomiya finished a distant second, 2,8 million votes behind Ms Koike, according to media reports.
In November, Tokyo’s port authority issued a request for “business proposals” for “innovations and entertainment” to be developed on a land reclamation area at Aomi within Koto ward, on Tokyo’s waterside. According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, the move was with an eye to gauging interest among investors for a possible IR at a later date.
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