Fumiko Hayashi, the mayor of Yokohama in Japan, is expected to submit to the city’s council a bill that could trigger a community referendum on whether the metropolis (pictured) should even apply to the national government for the right to host a casino complex, known in Japan as an integrated resort (IR).
According to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, anti-casino community campaigners have collected 205,852 signatures – about six percent of the city’s 3.72-million population as based on data from the statistics bureau at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications – seeking such a local poll on the IR topic.
The tally of names is said to greatly exceed the number required to trigger a move for such a poll. The city government must verify the signatures before Ms Hayashi can contemplate tabling a motion to the council for a referendum.
In October, Ms Hayashi said she would abide by any ‘no’ vote that might result from any public referendum.
The council – as currently constituted – has a majority in favour of the IR policy, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent, and therefore it is not clear whether the referendum motion would even be passed. Most local economic-lobby groups are also said to be in favour.
On October 13, authorities in Yokohama said they would conduct a fresh request-for-concept (RFC) phase in the community’s tilt at getting a casino resort. The new RFC phase began that day and will run until the end of November.
Earlier in October, Japan’s national government said it planned to start accepting proposals for casino resorts from October 2021. The proposed closing date for such submissions – to be made by local governments – would be April 28, 2022.
Up to three casino resorts will be permitted in Japan in a first phase of market liberalisation.
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