Population (Prefectural): 1.4 million
GDP (Prefectural): 4.1 trillion yen
Candidate Site: Undetermined
Main IR Assets: Very strong tourism potential set in the most culturally unique portion of the Japanese nation, with a history of vibrant international trading links.
Key Proponent: Local business community and conservative politicians
In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last Friday, the Suncity Group revealed that it had acquired ownership of a 108,800 square meter plot of land in northern Miyakojima which it intends to utilize for a resort hotel development.
In a remarkable move, Hiroyuki Hosoda, a senior ruling party politician, publicly pushed Okinawa to make an IR bid in spite of the fact that the newly-elected Governor Denny Tamaki has stated repeatedly that he opposes such a bid.
The victory of the All-Okinawa candidate for governor, Denny Tamaki, would appear to bring to an end any chance that Okinawa Prefecture will join the race to host an IR.
The question of whether or not Okinawa Prefecture will be making a bid for an IR license will likely be resolved in the September 30 gubernatorial elections, as the two candidates are taking the expected opposite policy positions.
The election of Governor Takeshi Onaga in November 2014 brought a halt to the long-developed notions of building an IR in Okinawa, but Onaga’s sudden death on Wednesday has put the issue of an IR bid back on the table as a possibility in Japan’s southernmost prefecture.
Zhengming Pan, CEO of 500.com, the Shenzhen-based online sports lottery service provider, is back in Okinawa pitching his IR plans, but this time he brought along a potential partner, Kevin McGowen, CEO of Les Ambassadeurs Club in London.