Population (Prefectural): 930,000
GDP (Prefectural): 3.5 trillion yen
Candidate Site: Marina City
Main IR Assets: Good access to Kansai International Airport and the surrounding regions. An attractive seaside location ripe for further tourism development.
Key Proponent: Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka
Family Name: Nisaka
Given Name: Yoshinobu
Role: Governor of Wakayama Prefecture
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: After spending many years as a MITI (now METI) bureaucrat, as well as a stint as the ambassador to Brunei, Nisaka successfully ran for governor in 2006. He was reelected in 2010 and 2014.
Family Name: Obana
Given Name: Masahiro
Role: Mayor of Wakayama City
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Obana worked his way up through the Wakayama prefectural government as a local bureaucrat. In 2014 he was elected mayor with the support of major political parties.
Family Name: Ito
Given Name: Motoshige
Organization: Wakayama Prefecture IR Experts Committee
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Ito is a well-known economist who has held high-level positions both in the academic world and as an advisor to various government committees. In July 2019, it was announced that he would become the Chairman of the Wakayama Prefecture IR Experts Committee.
Suncity Group has revealed its plans for an IR featuring the traditions, history, and natural landscape of Wakayama.
On Friday, the final day of its regular session, the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly declared its support for Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka’s initiative to seek an IR license for the Marina City location.
Making up for lost time, the Suncity Group has launched its Japanese-language website, complete with a high production value, five-minute movie outlining its concept for an IR at Marina City, Wakayama.
Suncity Group Executive Director John Au Chung On made clear at a symposium on Monday that his company was planning to make an IR bid in Japan, and that Wakayama was a location that they are focusing on.
Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka purports to being unshaken by Yokohama’s entry into the IR race, despite the fact that it suggests that all of Japan’s regional markets—Hokkaido, Nagasaki, and others—may be competing for a single available IR license.
A group called the “Kainan Association Against the Wakayama Casino” held a study meeting on the 10th at the Kainan Sports Center, not far from the IR candidate site at Marina City.
The Wakayama IR Experts Committee under the chairmanship of Tokyo University Professor Emeritus Motoshige Ito held its first meeting on Tuesday, launching a new phase in the prefecture’s campaign to bring an IR to the Marina City location.
Macau-based Suncity Group, mainly known as a giant in the junket industry, has signaled its interest in joining the Japan IR race by deploying an executive director to speak at a symposium in Wakayama in late August.
The Wakayama Prefectural Government has scheduled August 6 as the date for the first meeting of its IR Experts Committee and has revealed the eight members of the panel.
Wakayama Mayor Masahiro Obana made clear at a press conference on Thursday that he is not in full alignment with Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka over the project to build an IR at Marina City—he still insists that entry to the casino must be limited to foreign tourists.
Groupe Lucien Barrière staked its claim in Wakayama on Tuesday with three major moves: opening their only Japanese office in that city, bringing their official brand ambassador Jean Reno for a tour, and meeting with Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka.
Groupe Barrière is adding some star power to its bid to partner with Wakayama Prefecture on an IR bid by bringing actor Jean Reno to Marina City to serve as their official brand ambassador.
To end our coverage of the developing IR market in Japan as the Heisei Era comes to a close, we offer this video tour of one of the candidate locations, Marina City in Wakayama.
On Sunday, the official campaign period began for the second round of the Unified Local Elections, which will include mayoral elections in Sasebo and city council races in the cities of Sasebo, Wakayama, and Tomakomai, where debate over local IR plans is expected to be the top political issue.
EY Japan, which conducted last year’s RFI process, was once again the only firm that applied to become IR advisor to the Wakayama prefectural government and it therefore won the public tender process for the longer-term contract.
The Wakayama IR Business Connect Seminar was held on the late afternoon of the 19th and was successful in drawing interest from a large cross-section of the local business community, as well as domestic and international media.
The upcoming Wakayama IR Business-Connect Seminar has been fully subscribed, attracting over 200 companies from the Wakayama as well as greater Kansai Region.
Last Thursday, the Wakayama prefectural government launched a public tender for an advisory firm that will help guide it through the IR licensing process until the end of March 2022.
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.
The Wakayama Prefectural Government is aiming to open its Marina City IR in 2024, simultaneously with the anticipated Osaka Yumeshima IR.
Wakayama Prefecture has revealed that it continues to be told by the national authorities that its proximity to Osaka Yumeshima will not stand against it when it comes to the selection of the three municipalities to be granted IR licenses.
The Wakayama Prefectural government has officially endorsed the upcoming IR Business Connect Seminar being held on 19 February 2019 at the Daiwa Roynet Wakayama. This marks the events inauguration as an official event by Wakayama Prefecture and will be held in conjunction with the Wakayama Chamber of Commerce.
This past weekend, Bloomberry Resorts Japan was the sole “special sponsor” for the 1st Annual Wakayama Santa Run held outside Wakayama Castle, tightening its links with the community where its IR ambitions appear to be centered.
HOGO has announced a partnership with Asia Gaming Brief and the Wakayama Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of launching the Wakayama Integrated Resort Business-Connect Seminar on February 19, 2019.
Casinos Austria International Japan (CAIJ) is planning to build its IR bid on the security that comes with choosing a state-run casino operator, and it will be based on the themes of classical music and medical care, according to CAIJ President Akio Hayashi in an exclusive interview with AGB Nippon.
Yoshinobu Nisaka defeated his anti-casino opponent Masayoshi Hatanaka to win a fourth term as Governor of Wakayama Prefecture, thus clearing the political path for an IR bid.
On Thursday the official election period began for the Wakayama gubernatorial race, pitting the pro-IR incumbent Yoshinobu Nisaka against the anti-casino challenger Masayoshi Hatanaka. This is precisely the same match-up as was the case four years ago. Election Day is November 25.
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.
Gathering at a hotel in Wakayama city, Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka once again promoted the concept of building an IR at the Marina City location, this time explaining the contents of the revised plan released by the prefectural government last week.
On Tuesday the Wakayama Prefectural Government published its revised IR plan taking into account aspects of the IR Implementation Act and suggestions made by the 33 companies, including seven international IR operators, that participated in the RFI process which concluded in August.
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.
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.
Wakayama Prefecture’s leading political activist against an IR at Marina City, Masayoshi Hatanaka, is throwing his hat into to ring to run as governor in the November 25 election.
The Wakayama Prefectural Government has established an eight-member team to work full-time on the project of bringing an IR to the Marina City location. Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka told reporters that more staff members might be added to the team from next April 1.
The Wakayama RFI process launched in June was concluded at the end of August. A total of 33 companies submitted plans before the deadline.
Relatively few Japanese political leaders have made an effort to convince the general public about the merits of an IR bid, but Hirofumi Kado, a ruling party House of Representatives lawmaker from Wakayama, is proving to be an exception.
In the midst of booming tourism throughout Japan, Wakayama Prefecture bucked the national trend by recording a small dip in tourism in 2017.
Wakayama Mayor Masahiro Obana easily defeated his anti-casino challenger, Kumiko Shima, in Sunday’s election, boosting the chances for an IR bid at the municipality’s Marina City location.
The face-to-face debate on July 5 between the two candidates for Wakayama mayor underlined the fact that neither candidate is currently in open alignment with the prefectural government’s plan to build an IR at the Marina City site.
Although few independent analysts have rated Wakayama’s chances of winning one of three available IR licenses very highly, prefectural officials are pressing ahead with considerable confidence about their bid.
The first of two briefings regarding the RFI process of Wakayama’s expected IR bid revealed strong interest from the business community as a total of 49 companies sent representatives to the event.
The Wakayama Prefectural Government on Tuesday launched its RFI process for its anticipated IR bid, to be conducted by its new consulting company, EY.
Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts, the operator of the Solaire Resort in Manila, was an early mover on seeking an IR license in Japan, and their main interest appears to have converged on Wakayama’s Marina City location.
On Thursday, the Wakayama Prefectural Government announced that it had selected the auditing firm EY to conduct its RFI process with IR operators.
Despite formidable obstacles, Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka is undeterred in his pursuit of an IR at the Marina City location.
On Tuesday, the Wakayama Prefectural Government published a report called “Wakayama Prefecture IR Basic Concept,” which provided specific data and projections, and also dropped its proposal to exclude Japanese from the casino.
The issue of Wakayama’s IR bid will be a leading point of contention in the city’s July 29 mayoral election after a decidedly anti-casino challenger, Kumiko Shima, announced her candidacy.
Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka has walked back his early April comments in which he openly expressed the view that local Japanese might also be welcome in a Marina City casino. The governor made this latest turnabout on Tuesday after a gap opened up publicly on this issue between himself and Wakayama Mayor Masahiro Obana.