Wakayama Governor Backtracks on Japanese Casino Entry Policy

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.

Expressing sympathy with the mayor’s view that a casino should be limited to foreigners only, Governor Nisaka stated, “If I were the mayor, I would have said the same thing. A mayor must think about the safety of the citizens.”

In response to the mayor’s opposition, Governor Nisaka obfuscated his own current position: “Although we will pursue thorough measures, a conclusion about whether or not Japanese should be allowed to enter the casino cannot easily be reached.”

Among the local governments actively considering an IR licensing bid, Wakayama is the only one that has proposed limiting its casinos to foreign tourists. Some international operators have long warned that they would not be interested in investment under such terms. (AGB Nippon)