From last November, when Osaka won its bid to host the 2025 World Expo, until August of this year, when Yokohama announced that it was entering the race, Osaka Yumeshima was looking like it would become host to the grandest and most successful IR in Japan.
The race to gain one of the three available IR licenses is advancing into the decisive stage, with Japanese local governments and international IR operators eagerly lining up for approval. However, the Japanese general public remains broadly on the sidelines, not waiting in anticipation, but rather sullenly watching developments they don’t approve of.
Having telegraphed its intention to do so since March, the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry has finally launched its pro-IR organization, dubbed the “Yokohama IR Promotion Association.”
Melco Resorts & Entertainment made several major announcements at a press event in Tokyo on Tuesday, including that Japanese tennis champion Naomi Osaka has become brand ambassador and sports group director for the company’s Yokohama IR bid.
Las Vegas Sands executives told an earnings conference call that they are focusing attention on their Yokohama bid, which they envision will involve an investment of US$10-12 billion.
Resona Bank Vice-President Hajime Kosaka has been giving a series of interviews to Japanese newspapers explaining that his firm has established a sixteen-department, fifty-person project team dedicated to the development of the prospective Yumeshima IR and the 2025 World Expo.