The newly-elected anti-casino mayor of Yokohama, Takeharu Yamanaka, has confirmed that the Japanese city will “abolish” with effect from October 1, an office specially-assigned to promoting a casino initiative supported by his predecessor, Fumiko Hayashi.
Mr Yamanaka stated the city (pictured) would withdraw its “integrated resort” or “IR” policy – as schemes associated with large-scale casino resorts are known in Japan – and take steps necessary to abolish the IR initiatives the city had taken during recent years, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
Mr Yamanaka made on Friday the pledge to disband Yokohama’s integrated resort promotion office, almost two years after that body had been announced, in October 2019. He was speaking during a plenary meeting of the third session of the Yokohama city council for calendar year 2021, following his triumph in the mayoral election on August 22.
That day, Mr Yamanaka – a former professor at Yokohama City University, who secured 33.59 percent of the votes cast – had said Yokohama would not be applying to the national government for the right to host an integrated resort.
But he had not given details of the timetable for Yokohama’s disengagement from the process.
Most recently, Genting Singapore Ltd, operator of Singapore casino venue Resorts World Sentosa; and casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, operating venues in Macau and the Philippines, had been identified as the two contenders in the race to secure a Yokohama licence.
Up to three casino resorts will be allowed nationally in Japan under the liberalisation plan.
Yokohama had proposed in September 2019, a JPY400-million (US$3.6-million) supplementary budget for promotion of its IR ambitions, to cover financial years 2019 to 2021.
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