Population (Prefectural): 5.1 million
GDP (Prefectural): 18.9 trillion yen
Candidate Site: Undetermined
Main IR Assets: Located within the most populous prefecture on Kyushu island with easy access to Honshu via the Shinkansen and by airports.
Key Proponent: Kitakyushu City IR Promotion Council
Family Name: Kitahashi
Given Name: Kenji
Role: Mayor of Kitakyushu City
IR Stance: Neutral
Profile: Kitahashi was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1986. He was an opposition lawmaker, eventually joining the Democratic Party of Japan when it was formed in 1998. In 2007, he ran for the post of Kitakyushu mayor and became the first opposition party-related politician to win that office in four decades. However, in more recent elections his political base shifted to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima has quickly responded to the Junior Chamber International Fukuoka’s proposal for an IR bid from his city. The answer was clear—“not at this time.”
Junior Chamber International Fukuoka is making a strong push for Fukuoka city, the most populous municipality on the island of Kyushu, to join the IR race, and they will soon be formally petitioning the local government and business leaders to join this campaign.
Although the Nagasaki Prefectural Government has been trying to consolidate “All-Kyushu” support for its IR bid, alternatives to the Huis Ten Bosch site in Sasebo city continue to be discussed.
The Kitakyushu City IR Promotion Council is finding that Kitakyushu Airport Island should become the focus of their IR bid, if they be able to gain the needed political support from Mayor Kenji Kitahashi.
Sasebo’s campaign to build an IR at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park has been given a major boost by the Kyushu Governors’ Association, which has decided to offer proactive support and dismiss the recent rival candidacy of Kitakyushu city.
Sasebo city's plans to create an "All-Kyushu" campaign to give heft to its small-market IR bid fell by the wayside last week when Kitakyushu, the second-largest city on that southwestern Japanese island, initiated moves toward making its own IR bid.