At many points in the IR development process it seemed that Osaka’s leaders were running the most masterful campaign to gain one of the three available licenses, but it may now be time for Mayor Ichiro Matsui and Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura to step back, take a breath, and look at the situation with fresh eyes.
As with most of the other major political scandals in the Shinzo Abe era, the final chapter does not seem to conclude with an unraveling of the mysteries, with lessons learned, and then the beginning of reforms, but rather with the investigations grinding to a halt before they reveal the full truth, with logical progressions left hanging, and with the government carrying on as if nothing were amiss.
AGB Nippon recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Nagasaki Vice-Governor Ken Hirata, who gave us the low-down on one of the best prepared local government IR candidacies, touching on a variety of issues of national significance.
Genting Singapore, a major Asian IR operator deeply interested in the Japanese market, has been the most tightlipped of all of the bidders about their plans for the country. This changed significantly on Monday, however, with the issuance of an 84-page “Circular to Shareholders” that outlined a number of key points about the company’s objectives.
“Hokkaido is still a very strong location for one of the Japanese Integrated Resorts based on the concept of good food, good sports, and good nature. Our position is unchanged.” So says Robert Verdier, president of The Taffrail Group, which leads the Clairvest Group’s IR campaign in Japan, in an exclusive interview with AGB Nippon.
On the issue of IR development in Japan, the Shinzo Abe government has, from start to finish, acted like a political bulldozer, assuming that the opposition parties and the majority opinion of the Japanese people could simply be swept aside by overwhelming force. This approach has indeed taken them a long way forward, but the costs are now mounting and the limits may be in sight.
Even at this late stage, the Japanese government’s policy on the taxation of casinos and IRs remains both unclear and a point of contention.
The decision by Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki to drop out of the Japan IR race does not simply remove one more local government from contention, it also represents the collapse of what was arguably the strongest IR initiative outside of the Kansai and Kanto regions, the regional IR which probably would have produced the highest financial returns.
It seemed that all and sundry in gaming circles had considered it a foregone conclusion that Osaka will be a venue for one of the first three Integrated Resorts (IR) to be developed in Japan.