Population (Prefectural): 8.8 million
GDP (Prefectural): 39.1 trillion yen
Candidate Site: Yumeshima
Main IR Assets: This location has plenty of open space and an IR could contribute to the revitalization of the economically depressed coastal area. It is in easy proximity to the entire Kansai region, home to more than 22 million people and a major draw for international tourists.
Key Proponent: Mayor Ichiro Matsui
Family Name: Yoshimura
Given Name: Hirofumi
Party: Japan Innovation Party
Role: Governor of Osaka Prefecture
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Yoshimura was a local lawyer recruited by the Osaka Restoration Association, first as a city councilman in 2011 and then for the House of Representatives in 2014. When party leader Toru Hashimoto resigned as Osaka mayor in 2015 after failing to win a referendum on merging Osaka prefecture and city, Yoshimura became Hashimoto's handpicked successor, winning his first election as mayor. In April 2019, he successfully ran for the position of Osaka governor.
Family Name: Matsui
Given Name: Ichiro
Party: Japan Innovation Party
Role: Japan Innovation Party President and Mayor of Osaka City
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: After an early career as a businessman, Matsui spent three terms as a ruling party prefectural assemblyman. In 2010 he shifted his membership to the Osaka Restoration Association and became the political partner of the movement's founder, Toru Hashimoto. Matsui became Hashimoto's successor as governor in 2011, and later his successor as head of the regional Osaka Restoration Association and the national Japan Innovation Party. Remaining as the party leader, in April 2019 gave up the governorship and successfully ran to become Osaka mayor.
Family Name: Ikeda
Given Name: Hiroyuki
Organization: Kansai Association of Corporate Executives
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: With a long career in the banking industry, Ikeda rose to the position of Deputy Chairman of Resona Bank in April 2013. He also gained the position of Co-Chairman of the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives in May 2018.
Family Name: Fukano
Given Name: Hiroyuki
Organization: Kansai Association of Corporate Executives
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Fukano spent most of his career as a bureaucrat in the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry before shifting to the major trading company Itochu in 2013. He is regarded as an expert on business start-ups and the creation of new industries. He is the first former bureaucrat to hold the position of co-chairman of Kansai Association of Corporate Executives in 32 years.
Family Name: Yamaya
Given Name: Yoshiyuki
Organization: Kansai Airports
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Yamaya joined the Orix Corporation in 1980 and spent 35 years in the company, rising to the post of vice-president. He has held his current position as president of Kansai Airports since 2016.
Family Name: Kawai
Given Name: Hideaki
Organization: Osaka Metro
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Kawai joined Panasonic in 1977 and worked his way up to several top level executive positions, including chief financial officer. He also played a significant role in the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives. In 2018, he was appointed the inaugural president of Osaka Metro.
Family Name: Kato
Given Name: Yoshifumi
Organization: Keihan Holdings
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Kato joined Keihan Holdings in 1975 and spent his entire career working his way up the executive ranks of the company. In 2011 he became president and chief executive officer. In a reorganization in May 2019, Kato became the company's chairman.
Family Name: Ishimaru
Given Name: Masahiro
Role: President and Chief Operating Officer of Keihan Holdings
Profile: Born in Osaka and educated at Hokkaido University, Ishimaru joined Keihan Holdings after graduation. He worked his way up the executive ranks, achieving his current rank as President and Chief Operating Officer effective from June 2019.
Family Name: Mizohata
Given Name: Hiroshi
Institution: Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
Profile: Beginning his career as a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mizohata first became noted for his efforts to develop sports teams in Oita Prefecture. From 2010-2012 he served as commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency. Since 2015 he has headed up the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau and has been a strong advocate for the concept of building an IR at Yumeshima.
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.
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.
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.
Resorts and Orix Corporation clarified that all three regional airports—Kansai International Airport, Itami Airport, and Kobe Airport—will be associated with their consortium’s bid to build an IR at Osaka Yumeshima.
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.
For those who believe that MGM Resorts has already tied up an IR race victory in Osaka, Galaxy Entertainment would beg to differ, holding a press event in the city on Wednesday and making their local pitch.
Casino opponents continue to raise their voices across the country, with rallies having occurred this week in Osaka and Tomakomai, both municipalities candidates for an IR development.
Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui is leaning toward a policy that would see the 49 hectares of land utilized for IR development at Yumeshima rented to the operator rather than sold.
Wynn Resorts has confirmed to AGB Nippon that it has quietly withdrawn from the IR race in Osaka and will focus its efforts on gaining an IR license in the Kanto region.
On Wednesday, the Osaka City Council approved a special budget to carry out the environmental impact assessment for the anticipated Yumeshima IR. The municipal funds approved for the assessment are 9 million yen (about US$83,300).
For the third year running, MGM Resorts has become a sponsor for the October 12th to 13th Dotombori River Festival, in particular focusing on the Yosakoi dancing events.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment announced on Wednesday that it would focus its IR campaign on Yokohama and that it was suspending its participation in bidding for the Osaka Yumeshima location.
Saturday the 14th witnessed two separate rallies by opponents of casino legalization, one in Yokohama and the other in Osaka.
About twenty local citizens groups have come together as “The Roundtable Conference by Citizens Concerned about Changing Town Planning of Yumeshima Island” to call for the plans to develop Yumeshima to be halted.
In another measure to clear up regulatory issues for the anticipated IR bid, the Osaka City Urban Planning Council has agreed by majority vote to change the zoning designation of about 143 hectares of Yumeshima island to a “commercial zone” from its current status as an “industrial zone” or “semi-industrial zone.”
Closer examination of the IR Basic Plan draft issued on Wednesday finds that the degree of popular support won within the host community will be a criterion for choosing which of three IR bids will be selected for licensing.
Once again looking for any means to speed through the process in order to open its anticipated Yumeshima IR before the 2025 World Expo, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura confirmed in a press conference that the Osaka RFP process would be launched before the end of this year and that Osaka aimed to select its IR operator partner next spring.
Understanding that a seamless permits process is crucial to hopes of opening an IR before the 2025 World Expo, the Osaka prefectural and city governments are taking an unusual measure to expedite the required Yumeshima environmental impact assessment.
Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has announced plans to solicit public donations to plant 2025 cherry blossom trees across Osaka Prefecture in preparation for the 2025 World Expo to be held at Yumeshima.
MGM Resorts took the opportunity of the local withdrawal of a major rival, Las Vegas Sands, to reaffirm that its IR bid in Japan was clearly focused on Osaka Yumeshima.
MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO James Murren has told the Japan Times that there is still enough time to open the Osaka Yumeshima IR before the 2025 World Expo, and thus capturing the benefits of having an estimated 28 million people coming to the next-door attractions of Expo.
On Monday, the Osaka city government held the first meeting of its “Yumeshima Development Promotion Headquarters” at the City Hall building under the direct leadership of Mayor Ichiro Matsui. Officials from the prefectural government, such as Vice-Governor Seigo Tanaka, were also in attendance.
MGM Resorts Japan will be a co-sponsor for Osaka’s major Tenjin Festival for a second consecutive year, including the dedication of fireworks for the festival’s finale.
The Nihon Keizai Shinbun is bringing its high-powered IR Forum to Osaka, marking the third in the Nikkei series, but the first held in the Kansai region.
Kintetsu Railway believes that it may have found a technological solution that could make possible its scheme for an express service between Yumeshima, the future home of Osaka’s IR, and Nara, one of the ancient capital cities of Japan and a major tourist destination—a battery-powered train.
Police continue to take down illegal internet casinos across the nation, with the latest round including the bust of one casino in the Ueno district of Tokyo and another in the Yodogawa Ward of Osaka.
Las Vegas Sands’ Managing Director for Global Development George Tanasijevich has offered the clearest statement yet that his firm is now following MGM Resorts in pursuing an “Osaka First” strategy.
The planned development of Yumeshima may face an unexpected difficulty as local experts suggest that an endangered seabird species called a Little Tern may be using the manmade island in Osaka Bay as its breeding grounds.
The Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) has revealed that it will be launching a special “Osaka-Kansai Project Team” to focus on the development of the prospective IR and 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima, as well as some other projects in the region.
Despite Osaka’s strong desire to open its Yumeshima IR in 2024, before the World Expo, a new research brief from Global Market Advisors predicts that this timeline will now prove to be too ambitious, and in fact the first Japanese IRs will not able to open their doors before early 2026.
Despite local entry fees and high gaming tax, MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren believes Japan to represent the highest ROI gaming IR opportunity in the world right now.
Moves are afoot to change regulations in order to make Kobe Airport—one of the three airports in the Kansai region—into an International airport, taking some of the traffic pressure off of Kansai International Airport in the run-up to the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima, Osaka.
It has recently become possible to understand with increased clarity which IR operators will be bidding for Japan’s two major markets—the Kanto and the Kansai—and where each of them are now focusing.
Last week Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui revealed that seven operators have registered for the RFC process to build an IR at Osaka Yumeshima, including what he called “all Top Five” of the world’s casino companies.
Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operations Officer Robert Goldstein said he believes Osaka to be the only city in Japan suitable for a large-scale IR with “millions” of square feet of convention space, and thousands of hotel rooms.
A newly-released report reveals that although attendance at theme parks is growing globally, two theme parks in Japan that are considering nearby IR developments did not share in that bonanza in 2018.
Osaka's main political leaders publicly attacked the national government's decision to delay the issuance of regulations for the IR bidding process, describing it as both bad policy and weak politics.
The Abe government is pulling back from the planned July 1 establishment of the Casino Management Board and the issuance of more specific IR bidding regulations out of concern that Japanese public opinion remains hostile to the legalization of casino gambling.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho came ready for action on the first day of the Japan Gaming Congress, announcing that his firm would dramatically raise the global standard of IR industry, and presenting a stunning array of visual demonstrations of his “City of the Future” concept for the Osaka Yumeshima site.
The scale of the Kansai IR Industrial Expo held in Osaka on May 15 and 16 testified to the rapid rate of growth of the gaming industry in Japan as it was clearly much larger than its predecessor event held a year ago in the same city.
Keihan Holdings is reshuffling its top executive team in preparation for the extension of the Nakanoshima Line to Yumeshima, the anticipated site of the 2025 World Expo and a major urban IR.
During an earnings conference call, Melco Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho seemed to acknowledge that MGM Resorts’ tie-up with the Orix Corporation would make them tough to beat for the Osaka IR license and that Melco was beginning to focus its attention on other parts of Japan.
At the end of April, Osaka police announced that they had arrested a woman on charges of assisting Shinichi Igawa—the South Korean national of unknown occupation whom police have identified as the shooter of two other men at an illegal internet casino in Osaka—to evade arrest.
New Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has wasted little time in launching his prefecture’s RFC process and has provided an anticipated timeline for the development of the Yumeshima IR.
MGM Resorts Japan has announced that it will be holding an exhibition in central Osaka for approximately three weeks on the theme of “What’s an IR?”
Shinichi Igawa, the South Korean national of unknown occupation whom police identified as the shooter of two other men at an illegal internet casino in Osaka’s Minami district during the early morning hours of March 11, has been arrested on charges of attempted murder.
When the anticipated Yumeshima IR opens its doors in 2024, visitors might be able to travel to it on an Osaka Metro system which allows them entry without presenting any tickets or smartcards, and conveyed by trains without human drivers. This was part of the vision unveiled by Osaka Metro President Hideaki Kawai at a press conference last Friday.
In an earnings conference call on Wednesday, Las Vegas Sands President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Goldstein spoke enthusiastically about his companies prospects and plans in Japan.
The Jikei School of Hospitality in Osaka has launched the first program by a vocational school to educate students for the anticipated IR industry.
The electoral victories of Hirofumi Yoshimura, Ichiro Matsui, and their Osaka Restoration Association last Sunday were impressive, but not entirely complete. They will, however, hold a strong hand going forward on the IR development issue.
The anticipated IR bid at Osaka Yumeshima is getting a push not only from the major business organizations in the region, but also by a group of small and medium-sized businesses who have formed the “IR Local Alliance.”
The Ichiro Matsui and Hirofumi Yoshimura leadership team has been retained by the voters of Osaka, though they have now switched offices—Yoshimura will be governor and Matsui will be mayor.
The announcement this week that Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa expansion will include the creation of a Super Nintendo World brings into focus the fact that this theme park will likely have an indirect link to the expected Osaka Yumeshima IR as well.
A new public opinion poll by the Nihon Keizai Shinbun found that a plurality of Osakans now support the concept of building an IR at Yumeshima, which is an unprecedented result for a newspaper poll examining a major urban market in Japan.
Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) announced Wednesday its FY2019 plans, which included the goal of using development of Yumeshima as a showcase for emerging “smartcity” technologies.
Only one year after its branch opening in the Namba district of Osaka, the Japan Casino School is unveiling a new classroom in the city’s Shinsaibashi district.
In recent weeks the outlines of security policies for the anticipated Yumeshima IR have begun to emerge from the Osaka prefectural and city governments.
MGM Resorts has formed a partnership with the regional powerhouse Orix Corporation in its bid to be selected by the Osaka prefectural government for IR development at Yumeshima.
The Osaka Bay area has seen three decades of declining land prices, but with the development of Yumeshima now on the horizon, land prices are finally beginning to rise.
Seven major international IR operators are scheduled to have speakers and utilize exhibition space at the 1st Kansai Integrated Resort Industrial Exhibition on May 15 and 16 in central Osaka.
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.
Signs were emerging over the weekend that an LDP victory in the Osaka Cross Elections could lead to putting the brakes on the plan to build an IR at Yumeshima.
This year’s Japanese Spring show at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden features as its centerpiece a ten meter tall replica of Osaka Castle, a meaningful addition to the annual event.
The Osaka Restoration Association’s task of returning to power in the April 7 elections has become much more difficult now that it has become clear that the influential Komeito party has effectively betrayed its local political alliance and has defected to the opposition side of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Osaka has become Japan’s “fastest-growing” destination for inbound tourism, with a five-fold increase between 2012 and 2017, according to a Reuters report, based on government data. In 2017, there were more than 11 million foreign visitors to Osaka.
A man entered an illegal internet casino in Osaka’s Minami district early Monday morning and immediately opened fire with a revolver, shooting an employee and a customer, seriously wounding both of them. Police believe that the intent of the suspect was murder.
The troubling scenario of political instability that first reared its head in late December has come to pass—Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura have announced their resignations in the face of frustrations at the political impasse over their scheme to administratively unify the prefecture and the city.
Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi clarified at a press conference before the foreign media in Tokyo that his new role as head of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition had no connection to the IR bid at Yumeshima.
Effective from March 1, the Osaka-based Takenaka Corporation, one of Japan’s big five construction companies, once again upgraded its internal company team with a focus on gaining development contracts related to the 2025 World Expo and the anticipated Yumeshima IR.
The public and private sectors in Osaka are making it increasingly clear that their ambitions are not confined to creating a major tourist attraction at Yumeshima itself through the 2025 World Expo and the IR, but also to leverage this activity to reignite the stalled development of the wider Osaka Bay area.
Hyogo Governor Toshizo Ido told a plenary session of his prefectural assembly on Monday that he supports the concept of creating a direct sea link between Kobe city and Yumeshima, as originally proposed by Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto.
The newly-privatized Osaka Metro, which operates the local subway system, sees the development of non-railway income, especially from Yumeshima, as the key driver for future revenue growth.
Osaka city has released its FY2019 budget proposal in which a total of 163 million yen (about US$1.5 million) is earmarked for direct IR-related expenses. This part of the budget covers the costs for IR operator selection, application for a license to the national government, the holding of public hearings, and programs to combat gambling addiction.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura revealed in an interview with the Sankei Shinbun that he envisions attracting Formula One racing to Yumeshima after the 2025 World Expo is completed. This is only one part of the rapidly emerging vision for the manmade island, and how it may impact the local economy.
James Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, told investors on an earnings call this week that his company is “focusing our energies” on its Osaka IR bid, and that he feels optimistic about MGM’s chances for success, in spite of the highly competitive environment.
Yoshiyuki Yamaya, president of Kansai Airports, has revealed in interviews with the Japanese media that his firm is planning an additional 1 billion yen (about US$910 million) in investment to prepare Kansai International Airport for the 2025 World Expo and the anticipated opening of an IR at Yumeshima.
The Kansai Association of Corporate Executives issued a six-point series of proposals on Tuesday with the aim of making the anticipated Yumeshima IR into a major success for the region’s comprehensive development.
A visit to the sparkling new IR at Osaka Yumeshima could be considerably less entertaining if it becomes a major hassle to get on and off of the relatively isolated island where it is located.
The Osaka-based Takenaka Corporation, one of Japan’s big five construction companies, has launched a new leadership team with its eyes clearly focused on gaining development contracts related to the 2025 World Expo and the anticipated Yumeshima IR.
Solar and wind energy will feature prominently in Melco’s “City of the Future” IR design proposals to the government of Osaka, according to statements made by Chief Marketing & Brand Officer and Executive Vice-President Frederic Jean-Marie Winckler in an interview with the Sankei Shinbun.
Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki—only these three prefectures are willing to openly admit that they will be making IR bids, according to a survey of all 47 prefectures and 20 designated cities conducted by Kyodo News in the latter part of 2018.
From a variety of public and private sources, the basic outline of what Yumeshima will look like in 2025 is now beginning to emerge. In that year the manmade island in Osaka Bay is expected to host both a new IR and the World Expo.
A fourth railway company has proposed linking its trains to the anticipated Yumeshima Station. Kintetsu Railway floated a scheme over the weekend to create an express train service between Yumeshima, the future home of Osaka’s IR, and Nara, one of the ancient capital cities of Japan and a major tourist destination.
MGM Resorts has tipped its hand further by officially announcing an “Osaka First Policy” by which it will concentrate its management and planning resources at its newly opened office in Nakanoshima, Osaka.
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.
At the very end of 2018, after looking rock solid for many months, political instability hit Osaka as both Governor Ichiro Matsui and Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura announced that they were prepared to resign their posts early in order to provoke early elections in April 2019.
The newly-privatized Osaka Metro has unveiled a medium-term development plan that calls for a 55-story tower to be built above the future Yumeshima Station, adding to the entertainment complex associated with the 2025 World Expo and the anticipated IR.
The Obayashi Corporation continues to be among the most proactive of the major construction companies hoping for a major role in the development of Osaka Yumeshima.
In their current state, Osaka police are woefully underprepared for the hosting of the 2025 World Expo and an IR on the island of Yumeshima, and a significant police reorganization may be needed, the Sankei Shinbun has pointed out.
A team of Las Vegas Sands senior executives led by President and COO Robert Goldstein became the first IR operators to hold a meeting with Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura since Osaka won its bid to host the 2025 World Expo.
The Kansai Association of Corporate Executives has selected a new co-chairman, Hiroyuki Fukano, who immediately affirmed his support for Osaka’s 2025 World Expo as well as its IR bid at Yumeshima.
Yoshifumi Kato, president and CEO of Keihan Holdings, who announced last year that it was “his greatest mission” to connect by railway the anticipated IR at Yumeshima, Osaka, with Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, is seeing his vision come nearer reality, according to a recent article in the Nihon Keizai Shinbun.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura says that the newly developed Yumeshima will need not only rail links, but also high-speed ferry services and wider bridges in order to meet the traffic needs of the future, and that all of this should be completed by FY2024.
Osaka city is firming up its intention to ask its IR consortium to contribute 20 billion yen (about US$180 million) of the costs of extending rail links to the undeveloped, manmade island of Yumeshima, expected to host both the 2025 World Expo and a major urban IR in the mid-2020s.
Analysts are painting optimistic scenarios for the Osaka economy, as well as for the Japanese construction industry generally, in the wake of the local success in winning the 2025 World Expo.
The development of the homely man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay into a glittering center of international attention has progressed from just an ambitious prospect to an impending reality now that the Bureau International des Expositions has agreed that the 2025 World Expo will be hosted there.
The ninth meeting of Osaka’s IR Promotion Conference was held on November 14, and it was agreed that the prospective Yumeshima IR should include an international conference center that can host more than 5000 people, which is nearly double the size of largest currently-existing conference center in the city and would be among the largest in Asia.
The Japanese brokerage Nomura agrees with the sentiments of the Osaka government in a November 9 research note that declares, “a win for both the World Expo bid and the casino license would be expected to boost investment returns and have a positive impact on Osaka's economy.”
MGM’s new IR in Springfield, Massachusetts, may provide a boost for the firm’s ambitions in Japan, according to analyst John DeCree of Union Gaming.
Even by Japanese standards this was a rough summer in terms of natural disasters: floods, heatwaves, typhoons, and earthquakes battered the nation in rapid succession. Had there already been IRs established in, for example, Osaka or Wakayama or Hokkaido, they clearly would have been seriously impacted. Indeed, the entire nation recorded its first monthly decrease in foreign tourism this summer in many years, probably because of news of these natural calamities.
Leaving no stone unturned in his campaign to win the bid to host the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui has set off to Malaysia and Pakistan in an effort to gain their votes.
In what is becoming something of a tradition, MGM Resorts was the only IR operator to participate in this year’s Dotombori River Festival in Osaka, now for the second consecutive year.
The central government bureaucracy has launched its first major initiative since the July passage of the IR Implementation Act by beginning surveys on the IR bid intentions of all 47 prefectures and 20 designated cities.
Internationally, if not necessarily domestically, the flooding of Kansai International Airport is being discussed not as an aberration caused by a freak storm, but as a warning for the future as climate change causes sea levels to rise and typhoons to become more powerful.
The Osaka-based Takenaka Corporation, one of Japan’s big five construction companies, publicly announced the establishment of a “Yumeshima MICE/IR Promotion Office” from October 1.
The nation’s first “IR Cafe” has opened in the Kitashinchi entertainment district of Osaka, providing local people with the sights and sounds of the sort of casino that they might experience from the mid-2020s, but without the wagering.
On Tuesday morning, West Japan Railway Company and Nankai Electric Railway Company restarted their train services to Kansai International Airport, two weeks after a massive typhoon caused a tanker ship to crash into the bridge connecting the airport to the main island of Honshu.
Last week officials of the Osaka prefectural and city governments held their first lecture event with the objective of winning the support—or at least the understanding—of a local women’s group called the Tsubomisaku Project.
Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui controversially left his typhoon-struck prefecture on Sunday for a weeklong tour of Europe, aiming to promote his bid to host the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima island in Osaka.
For the second time this summer Osaka has been hit by a major natural disaster—first the Osaka Earthquake in June and now Typhoon No. 21. Both of them were of sufficient severity that they would have forced an IR at Yumeshima to close down part of its operations for a least a day or two, and would have led many tourists to cancel their plans to visit.
While neither event is confirmed, the Osaka government plans to open a major urban IR and host the World Expo on adjoining plots of land on Yumeshima island in the middle of the next decade. Concerns remain whether the IR can be built before the 2025 Expo, or, perhaps worse, that both will need to be built at the same time.
Following the May announcement by the major construction company Obayashi Corporation that it had established a nine-member project team for the development of Yumeshima island, Osaka, another major player, the Kajima Corporation, followed suit last month with the announcement that it had set up an eleven-member team for the same purpose.
Just as he did with the IR Implementation Act, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui is once again pushing the national government to speed up its deliberations and to move with greater alacrity. He says that Osaka wants to tentatively select its operator partner within a year with an eye to opening the Yumeshima IR by 2024.
Mainichi Shinbun broke the story on Friday that a PwC consultant working for the Osaka government on the development of IR policies was seen eating and drinking aboard MGM Resort’s Tenjin Festival boat last week, allegedly raising questions about his troubling degree of fraternization with one of the operators expected to bid for an IR license at the Yumeshima site.
In its first medium-term plan since its privatization and renaming in April, the Osaka Metro has specified that it intends to extend its Chuo Line from its current terminus at Cosmo Square to a new station at Yumeshima by FY2024.
A steady rain did not deter about 80 protesters from gathering and marching in the streets of Osaka on July 5 against the plan to build an IR at Yumeshima Island. The theme of the march was “Casinos are No Good.”
Las Vegas Sands quietly became the fifth international IR operator to throw its weight behind Osaka’s bid to become host of the 2025 World Expo at the city’s Yumeshima location.
The June 18 earthquake in Osaka disrupted business throughout the Kansai region, also forcing the cancellation of the 8th meeting of the IR Promotion Conference, which was to be held that very evening. An official of the Osaka prefectural government tells AGB Nippon that a new date has not yet been selected, but it will likely be sometime in July.
In anticipation of a hot bidding war among international IR operators for the Yumeshima location, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui has begun to outline strict ethics rules for public employees when they make contact with the competing businesses.
Construction company Obayashi Corporation has announced the establishment of a nine-member project team for the development of a potential IR as well as the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima island, Osaka.
Hiroyuki Ikeda, who recently rose to the leadership of the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives, emphasized in an interview his organization’s full support for the development of an IR at Osaka’s Yumeshima island.
West Japan Railway Company (JR West) has included the possibility of an extension of the Osaka Yumesaki Line beyond its current terminus at Sakurajima Station to Yumeshima, the proposed site for a major urban IR, in its Medium-Term Management Plan (2018-2022), published in late April.
Immediately before the Golden Week holidays, on April 27 and 28, the inaugural Kansai IR Showcase was held in central Osaka, hosted by by Tradeshow Organizers, Inc. The top political leaders of Osaka opened the event, and large-scale exhibits were presented by six major international casino operators.
MGM Resorts has announced that it will be participating in the Dotonbori Spring River Festival in Osaka in early May as part of its latest effort to woo the local community in pursuit of an IR in this major urban market.
In a Wednesday press conference, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui expressed his frustration with other national opposition parties for their boycott of legislative business, making it less likely that the IR Implementation Bill can be passed in the current Diet session.
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.