A plenary meeting on Friday of Yokohama city council, voted against a draft ordinance calling for a local referendum on that Japanese city’s tilt at having a casino complex or integrated resort (IR).
The 86-seat city council includes 36 members from the Liberal Democratic Party, and 16 from Komeito. All the members from those two parties voted against the referendum proposal, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
The two parties are in coalition at national level, and have supported the casino liberalisation policy.
Friday’s vote makes it likely, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, that Yokohama will proceed to a request-for-proposal (RFP) process to solicit business plans from candidates interested to develop an IR scheme there.
On Thursday, a Yokohama city council committee had flagged its opposition to a draft ordinance proposing a community referendum.
At that meeting of a committee tasked with Yokohama’s general affairs and finance, 10 members were in attendance. Six represented collectively the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and it coalition partner Komeito, with all voting against the draft ordinance.
It had been reported that several anti-casino community campaigns had by November managed to collect over 205,000 signatures – about six percent of Yokohama’s 3.72-million population – seeking such a local poll on the IR topic. The tally of names was said to greatly exceed the number required to trigger a move for such a poll.
Up to three casino resorts will be permitted in Japan in a first phase of market liberalisation. A December 18 announcement by the country’s government – the same day it confirmed the national basic policy on IRs – reiterated the central authorities would start accepting - from October 1, 2021, with a closing date of April 28, 2022 – local-government submissions for the right to host a resort.
(Updated Jan 11, 9.28am)
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