Monday, January 25, 2021

NIPPON INSIGHTS

Tomakomai IR optimists see hopes dashed again

Hope springs eternal in the minds of Tomakomai IR advocates. The answer delivered from the lips of Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki keeps coming back “no,” but what seems to be delivered to their ears is “maybe soon.”

Mayoral election now key to Yokohama IR development

When Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi announced at a press conference three months ago that she would respect the outcome of any popular referendum on IR development, we took her at her word.

OTHER NEWS

Hope springs eternal in the minds of Tomakomai IR advocates. The answer delivered from the lips of Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki keeps coming back “no,” but what seems to be delivered to their ears is “maybe soon.”
When Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi announced at a press conference three months ago that she would respect the outcome of any popular referendum on IR development, we took her at her word.
As Japan sinks into a deeper crisis over the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be natural that it might be overlooked. Indeed, the sensitivity of Japanese policymakers to overseas developments is often tenuous at best. But for the future of Japanese IRs generally—and for Osaka most specifically—stakeholders should be quaking with alarm over the most recent headlines regarding MGM Resorts.
Under the revised timeline, the national government is due to begin accepting IR licensing applications from local governments in October 2021. The chances that Yoshihide Suga will no longer be prime minister by that time are growing quickly.
If an IR is one day built in Tomakomai city, it will certainly be due to the dogged persistence of its municipal government, which has put forward yet another set of proposals to sweeten the pot and to encourage Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki to change his mind and authorize an IR licensing bid.
If the IR policy delays have created a threat to Yokohama’s plans that are primarily political, the deepest concerns for Osaka arguably relate to its effect on transportation infrastructure to the man-made island of Yumeshima.
Barring some truly dramatic event, it is already clear Yokohama faces a year of battle over IR development in 2021, pushing other public issues to the margins. Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi’s mayoral term comes to an end in August 2021.
The Nishinippon Shinbun, the leading regional newspaper of the Japanese island of Kyushu, editorialized on Monday against the IR development plan in Nagasaki that is supported by the region’s governors.
Yokohama anti-casino referendum campaigners have submitted about 205,000 resident signatures, more than three times the 63,000 that they needed to collect during the two-month period to trigger a referendum. The group is expected to ask Mayor Fumiko Hayashi to enact the necessary ordinance by the end of the year.
Mikio Shimoji, an Okinawa politician who admitted receiving a bribe offered by agents of 500 .com who were seeking an IR license in Japan, has been refused readmittance to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. As a result of his bribery admission, he was expelled from the Osaka-based Japan Innovation Party.
Universal Entertainment has recorded JPY77.1 billion (US$732 million) in revenues for the January-September nine-month period, a figure which was down 17.5 percent on a year-on-year basis. The net loss attributable to owners of the parent company came to JPY6.8 billion.
If current trends hold, there will soon be a referendum in Yokohama, which will bring an end to what is currently anticipated to be the largest IR development in Japan.
Universal Entertainment Corporation has issued a statement that it has won a legal case against former company auditor Yuki Arai when the Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal.
Japan is an unusual market in Asia, as while online gambling is illegal, the government appears willing to turn a blind eye and as a result business is booming.
The municipal government has established the “Yokohama Innovation IR Council’ to exchange opinions with the Kanagawa Prefectural Government and the Public Safety Commission in connection with the development of IR policy.
Sega Sammy Holdings has reported that its overall sales fell by 33.4 percent year-on-year to JPY110.2 billion (US$1.1 billion). The group posted an operating loss of JPY3.1 billion for the quarter.

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