Hirofumi Yoshimura, governor of Osaka prefecture, said in Tuesday comments it would be difficult to open there an integrated resort (IR) with casino in a 2029 time frame previously mentioned.
The Hokkoku Shimbun news outlet cited the official saying, during a briefing for the media, that the likelihood of a slippage from that timetable was “a common understanding of the parties” to the project.
He added that the time it had taken the national government to approve Osaka’s plans was a factor in delaying the opening.
Public broadcaster NHK cited Mr Yoshimura saying at the Tuesday briefing: “It took a very long time for the [national] government to approve it, so it is necessary to renegotiate when to open.”
The IR District Development Plan for Osaka was approved in principle on April 14 by the national authorities, having been submitted to them in April 2022.
Further agreements between the Osaka authorities and their partners – led by MGM Resorts Japan LLC and Orix Corp – on the construction of the planned IR were initially required to be finalised within 90 days of the approval by the central government. But the two sides eventually agreed to extend that deadline: the Osaka governments have said they expect a draft of the so-called implementation agreement to be ready in September.
That was a reference to the broad framework of agreement between the local authorities and their private-sector partners, in order to realise a casino resort.
Separately the prefectural and city authorities for Osaka said on Friday they had extended the deadline under which they and their private-sector partners would be able to terminate the basic agreement signed in February last year. The venture (pictured in an artist’s rendering) has been described as a US$10-billion scheme.
Discussing that matter, Mr Yoshimura was further quoted saying at the Tuesday briefing: “We have extended the deadline for the business operator to cancel the basic agreement by carefully proceeding with discussions. We are not discussing cancellation at all, and we are proceeding positively.”
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