Population (Prefectural): 9.1 million
GDP (Prefectural 2014): 30.3 trillion yen
Candidate Site: Yamashita Pier
Main IR Assets: Yamashita Pier is an attractive port site in a city that is already considered one of the most charming urban locations in the nation. It is located in the Kanto region, home to more than 36 million people.
Key Proponent: Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Family Name: Hayashi Given Name: Fumiko Party: Independent Role: Mayor of Yokohama City IR Stance: Unclear Profile: Before her move into politics, Hayashi had a pathbreaking career as a female business executive, mainly in the automotive industry, but also a stint as Chair and CEO of the major retailer, Daiei. She was first elected mayor of Yokohama in 2009 and has been reelected twice. Originally a clear advocate of hosting an IR in Yokohama, she shifted to an ambiguous stance in early 2017.
Family Name: Ueno Given Name: Takashi Organization: Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry Role: President IR Stance: Advocate Profile: Ueno has long experience in the maritime and oil transportation business. He has been the chairman and CEO of Ueno Transtech since March 2007, and has served as the president of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce and Industry since November 2006.
Family Name: Kawamoto Given Name: Morihiko Organization: Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry Role: Vice-Chairman IR Stance: Advocate Profile: Aside from his position as vice-chairman of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Kawamoto is also the president of Kawamoto Industry Corporation, which installs and maintains such equipment as air conditioners, plumbing systems, disaster prevention machinery, and more.
Family Name: Fujiki Given Name: Yukio Organization: Yokohama Harbor Transport Association Role: Chairman IR Stance: Opponent Profile: President of the Fujiki Transportation and Stevedoring Company since 1970, Fujiki is also the influential chairman of the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association. Although an advocate for the further development of the Yamashita Pier area, he took a different position from most local business leaders by opposing the establishment of a casino in Yokohama.
The Yokohama municipal government, which says it has made no decisions about whether or not to pursue an IR bid , will be holding two explanatory meetings for citizens later this month about the results of its RFI process for the Yamashita Pier site.
Last week, Yokohama police raided an illegal internet casino shop called “Beast” and arrested four people, including the manager, Hiroyuki Shishido.
The Yokohama city government released on Monday a more detailed summary the results of the RFI process carried out last summer, revealing, for example, that the investment amounts proposed by the operators for the development of an IR at the Yamashita Pier location ranged from a low of 620 billion yen (about US$5.6 billion) to a high of 1.3 trillion yen (about US$11.8 billion).
Yokohama Harbor Transport Association Chairman Yukio Fujiki is stepping up his efforts to head off an IR bid in his city by establishing a new anti-casino called the “Yokohama Harbor Resort Association.”
Las Vegas Sands would apparently like to build the largest IR in Japan, but they are currently unsure whether that entails focusing on the more certain prospect of Osaka, or else waiting for the possible emergence of Tokyo or Yokohama.
Left-leaning opposition parties are stepping up their political push against the establishment of casino gambling within their local communities, provoking new developments in both the Kanagawa and Hokkaido gubernatorial election campaigns.
Leaders of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry are making another push for an IR bid in their city, this time announcing that they will form an “IR Promotion Council” by the end of the year.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment CEO Lawrence Ho recently reaffirmed that his company is most interested in large metropolitan locations, not the smaller regional markets.
The chances that Tokyo will be a bidder for the three IR licenses in the first round looks highly remote after the metropolitan government unveiled additional details about its Tsukiji development plan on Wednesday.
Every local government IR bid in the nation remains dependent upon conservative or the right wing forces remaining in power in all major executive and legislative bodies. There is not a single left-of-center political party or major institution that isn’t hostile to casino legalization and ready to pull the plug on the local IR plans.
On Wednesday morning, police raided an illegal casino in Yokohama’s Naka Ward, the second such high-profile bust since July.
Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi made clear at a press conference on Friday that she expected only one IR to be licensed within the Kanto region, an area which includes Tokyo, Yokohama, and Chiba.
At a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Caesars Entertainment unveiled its “100 Year Partnership for Japan” campaign, and made a number of significant announcements about recent developments in the firm’s local IR initiatives.
A dozen companies submitted plans and information to the Yokohama municipal government before the RFI deadline last Friday. Among these, eight were international IR operators, two were domestic property developers, and two were other kinds of Japanese firms.
Yokohama business leaders used the opportunity of a conference on Saturday to renew their request for the municipal government to make a bid for an IR license.
The Yokohama municipal government revealed the results of its public comment period regarding its urban development plans, and in the process admitted that it had received an avalanche of opposition to the notion of building an IR in the city.
Ernst & Young ShinNihon has won another consulting contract with the Yokohama municipal government for the project titled “Investigation of New Strategic Urban Development Such as an Integrated Resort.”
In spite of the ongoing RFI process, Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi insisted at a Wednesday press conference that no decision about pursuing an IR bid had yet been made, and that she remained a “blank slate” on the matter.
At the explanation meeting held on Monday, the Yokohama municipal authorities released a breakdown of the 22 companies that have joined the RFI process, revealing that nine of them are international IR operators. A further six are domestic property developers.
A total of 22 companies or groups registered to participate in Yokohama city’s information collection initiative, which effectively amounts to a RFI process related to a possible IR bid, before the deadline on Tuesday afternoon. No breakdown on the nature of the 22 firms was made available.
Yokohama city, which is now mulling the possibility of an IR bid, drew over 51.4 million domestic and foreign tourists in 2017, according to new figures released by the Kanagawa prefectural government. This represents an increase of 11.8% over the previous year’s figure.
Wasting no time after the passage of the IR Implementation Act, the Yokohama municipal authorities on Monday unveiled two initiatives: a public tender for an advisory firm to study an Yokohama IR bid and a call for information from IR operators.
In front of around seven hundred politicians and businesspeople on the morning of July 18, the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association unveiled its vision for the development of Yamashita Pier, including what would become Japan’s largest MICE facility, with all the main elements of an Integrated Resort, minus a casino.
Kanagawa police raided an illegal casino in Yokohama’s Naka Ward on July 2 and arrested four people, including the shop’s manager, 34-year-old Takahiro Okamoto.
Chairman Yukio Fujiki of the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association reiterated in an interview with the Mainichi Shinbun his strong opposition to the siting of an IR at Yamashita Pier. He also suggested that if the city government nevertheless will not be deterred in its desire to host a casino, then they should look to convert a local US military base instead.
Yumiko Araki, head of the nine-member Japan Communist Party caucus within the Yokohama City Council, tells AGB Nippon in an exclusive interview that she believes Mayor Fumiko Hayashi intends to go forward with an IR bid, but attention may now be shifting from Yamashita Pier to Minato Mirai as the most likely location.
Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi is again reaffirming the “blank slate” position on hosting an IR which she first adopted over a year ago