Fukuoka Mayor Shoots Down IR Initiative as Sasebo Launches RFC Process

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.”

The mayor cited two major reasons for his negative stance on an IR bid: first, because of public concerns about issues like gambling addiction; and, second, because the IR race is already well underway and other municipalities have been working on their bids for a long time.

In the brief period between Junior Chamber International Fukuoka’s promotion of its proposal and the mayor’s negative response, however, concerns were rising in Nagasaki about the potential for rival bids from within Kyushu.

A prefectural official told the Nagasaki Shinbun, “Both Fukuoka and Kitakyushu answered the recent national survey by saying that they aren’t considering a bid. Cooperation is needed because this is not just our prefecture’s IR, but rather the Kyushu IR. We hope to gain the support of both of those cities.”

The timing is meaningful, because Nagasaki Prefecture just launched its RFC process on Tuesday. The schedule is a tight one, with the registration period ending on November 22, and the whole process concluded by February.

The local government explains, “Through this RFC process, a better understanding from an early stage of IR development and related needs / issues for this project will be promoted through the deepening of mutual understanding among local officials, including the prefecture, the city, and private businesses. The purpose of this project is to facilitate the implementation of the project, accelerate the various preparations and examinations related to this project, and to promptly implement the RFP after the establishment of the basic policy of the country.”

A wide range of IR operators and investment groups have expressed interest in making bids for the 31-hectare candidate site at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo. (AGB Nippon)