Population (Prefectural): 3.6 million
GDP (Prefectural): 17.2 trillion yen
Candidate Site: Oyori
Main IR Assets: The area sits along the Pacific Ocean coastline with a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji. It is also within reasonable distance of both the Kanto and Kansai regions.
Key Proponent: Makinohara IR Council (private group)
Family Name: Kawakatsu
Given Name: Heita
Role: Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture
IR Stance: Unclear
Profile: Kawakatsu was a liberal arts professor who rose to the position of president of the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture. In 2009 he ran and was elected governor for the first time. Though he is an independent, Kawakatsu is generally considered an ally of the national opposition parties.
Family Name: Sugimoto
Given Name: Kikuo
Role: Mayor of Makinohara City
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Sugimoto spent his career in local government, eventually rising to the post of deputy mayor in 2013. Four years later he ran for the post of mayor and was elected.
Makinohara city’s seven-month campaign to make an IR bid has come to an abrupt end after finding that the Shizuoka prefectural government, whose support is a necessary condition to move forward, has taken an uncooperative stance towards the city’s proposal.
Makinohara Mayor Kikuo Sugimoto has told his city council that local residents near the Oyori area have offered no objections to the plans to make an IR bid after the concept was explained to them.
The prospect that the Nihondaira plateau in the center of Shizuoka city might become host to an IR bid has been eliminated about six weeks after it was first proposed. Shingo Amano, the candidate for mayor of Shizuoka city who championed this initiative was defeated in elections on Sunday.
Makinohara city has recently become one of the most proactive local governments in preparing the ground for an IR bid, with the latest initiative being a lecture series about IRs aimed at skeptical local residents.
Makinohara Mayor Kikuo Sugimoto has identified a forested, 160-hectare site in the Oyori area of his city as the candidate site to construct an IR.
Makinohara Mayor Kikuo Sugimoto announced at his regular press conference last Thursday that he supports the IR bid that has been proposed by local businessmen in his community, thus confirming that this small municipality in Shizuoka Prefecture is also in the IR licensing race.
Operating below the media radar, there are indications that an IR bid may soon emerge from Makinohara city in Shizuoka Prefecture, a coastal community with a population of just over 44,000 people.