Yokohama (pictured), a Japanese city that is likely to try and get a casino resort, proposed on Monday a JPY400-million (US$3.7 million) supplementary budget for integrated resort promotion to cover financial years 2019 to 2021.
That is according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
The suggested outlay – JPY260 million for fiscal year 2019 and JPY140 million for 2020 and 2021 – will be put to a vote in a plenary session of the city’s council, due to be held on Friday.
Of nine Yokohama city councillors on the budget committee, six were reportedly in favour of the supplementary budget, and three were against it. The six that approved, represent collectively a Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito coalition. A similar power-sharing arrangement is in place at national level.
Fumiko Hayashi, the mayor of Yokohama, declared in late August public support for a casino project – schemes known in Japan as integrated resorts or “IRs” – citing the need to boost the local economy.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported at the time – citing comments from the mayor – that a casino resort could create what it termed an “economic ripple effect” of about JPY1 trillion, and the city would enjoy an increase in tax revenues estimated at about JPY100 billion annually.
That news outlet also reported that factors in her consideration were: an anticipated decline in the city’s population after a peak this year; strain on the city’s public finances; a lack of overnight stays by visitors; and a low amount spent per visitor.
Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest metropolis by population, but Kanagawa prefecture – where the city is located – was ranked only seventh most popular prefecture for tourist visits in 2017, behind Tokyo and Osaka, two other likely candidates for casino resorts. The information is the most recent such data published in English on the website of the Japan Tourism Organization, and said to be based on a questionnaire survey of visitors to the country.
Yokohama city is due to select an advisor for its IR push after the current council session and is likely to choose by financial year 2020 a private-sector partner for a bid to the national government, according to the information collated by GGRAsia’s correspondent.
Support for an IR in Yokohama is not universal. The Asahi Shimbun reported in late August that a citizen’s group that opposes a casino-based resort in Yokohama was to discuss campaigning to “recall” – i.e. unseat – the mayor over the issue.
In other developments, the latest annual IR impact study – the sixth – commissioned by the Tokyo metropolitan government and some findings of which were made public this month, suggests such a facility in that city could generate JPY400 billion in annual revenue.
The study – from Deloitte Tohmatsu Group – suggested a Tokyo IR might produce annually JPY80 billion in public revenue including taxes – i.e., about 20 percent of resort revenue – and produce an “economic ripple effect” of JPY700 billion to JPY900 billion.
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