The Japan IR Forum, an online conference to discuss the nascent Japan casino industry and large-scale gaming complexes or integrated resorts (IRs), is being held on Wednesday and Thursday (April 21 and 22). The event is organised by the Japan IR Association and the Japan IR Forum committee.
Topics include the impact of Covid-19 on the potential for inbound tourists to the country. The Japanese authorities have identified foreign tourists as a key target market for the country’s IRs.
Contributors to the Japan IR Forum include Japanese academics and Japanese experts on the IR topic.
Also speaking is Simon Cheung, a managing director at banking group Goldman Sachs. His day-one presentation will be about the regional competition likely to face Japan’s IR sector, given the economic development in Asia Pacific, and the number of gaming resort projects either already built, or in development.
According to the conference agenda, the overall theme of the online conference is Japan’s path to “realisation” of casino resorts “while dealing with large changes in the environment” for such projects.
Among the other contributors on day one is Yoshiaki Nakamura, representative director of a tourism-related body called the Japan Inbound Federation. His session is titled: “The importance of international tourism during and after Covid-19 and the scenario for the recovery of inbound visitors.”
Areas to be discussed include the outlook for inbound international visitors to Japan, assuming an easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions, and how Japan can achieve a goal of welcoming annually, 60 million foreign visitors.
Contained within that debate, is what role Japan IRs should play, and what will be the importance of meetings-related travellers in terms of Japan’s meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business.
The opening segment on day one will feature Kentaro Maruta, from a body called the IR Advisory Group, and who is also a partner at professional services firm KPMG Japan.
His topic is the “Current status of IR in Japan”. His presentation will cover topics including regulatory progress, the latest developments regarding local governments interested in hosting a casino resort, and the latest timetable for the process to open resorts.
Up to three casino resorts will be permitted in Japan to coincide with the opening up of the market. Locations that have so far publicly announced their desire to host a casino resort include Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki and Wakayama.
Day-two’s sessions include “Proposals from overseas for a Japan-style IR to succeed”.
Contributors include: Peter Cohen, a former Australian regulator and director, regulatory affairs, at The Agenda Group; David Green, another former Australian regulator, now of Newpage Consulting, and a former advisor to the Macau government; Billy Ng, managing director, global research, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Brendan Bussmann, partner and director of government affairs at Global Market Advisors LLC; and Bo Bernhard, vice president, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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