Osaka urges national government to avoid extended IR policy delay

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura urged the national government not to engage in an extended delay before issuing its IR Basic Plan, and he expressed confidence that the delay would not impact local planning.

“I would like to ask the country not to push the schedule off until later. I do not think that the schedule and content of Osaka’s IR bid will be affected.

Osaka has been planning to choose its IR operator partner around June of this year, and intends to be the first local government to submit its bid to the national government for consideration.

The Japan Tourism Agency announced last November that local government proposals for the three available IR licenses would be accepted from January 4 through July 30, 2021. It is unclear at this juncture whether or not the government will be sticking to this timeline, but some reporting suggests that the Abe administration still intends to do so.

At his press conference on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga admitted that there would be a delay, but offered no new timeline. He did, however, confirm reports that the government is looking at issuing new regulations restricting contacts between IR operators and certain government officials.

Suga also noted that the new Casino Regulatory Commission would be involved in the decision about when to finally issue the IR Basic Plan.