On the afternoon of September 4 the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism unexpectedly published the long-awaited draft of IR Basic Plan, giving local governments and operators a clearer idea of Japanese IR regulations.
The document is 46 densely written pages without illustrations or charts, but there seem to be few surprises. The focus is on boosting tourism and the MICE industry as a means to enhance Japan’s international competitiveness. It is specifically stipulated that the IRs should help the Japanese government reach its goal of attracting 60 million foreign tourists annually by 2030.
One key point that is missing from the document is any timeline for the bidding process, which it states is still under consideration.
The document does make clear, however, that another Experts Committee will be established within the Japanese Tourism Agency that will take a lead role in advising the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism which of the three IR bids nationally to accept.
The publication of the IR Basic Plan is also the beginning of a public comments period that will last until October 3. Past experience suggests that public comments will exercise little or no influence on the policy, and that the draft will become the final document.
All of the local governments and interested IR operators will now begin the process of carefully working through the document to gain a better appreciation of what the central government bureaucrats have in mind. (AGB Nippon)