Company: Osaka City
Family Name: Matsui
Given Name: Ichiro
Party: Japan Innovation Party
Role: Japan Innovation Party President and Mayor of Osaka City
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: After an early career as a businessman, Matsui spent three terms as a ruling party prefectural assemblyman. In 2010 he shifted his membership to the Osaka Restoration Association and became the political partner of the movement’s founder, Toru Hashimoto. Matsui became Hashimoto’s successor as governor in 2011, and later his successor as head of the regional Osaka Restoration Association and the national Japan Innovation Party. Remaining as the party leader, in April 2019 gave up the governorship and successfully ran to become Osaka mayor.
From last November, when Osaka won its bid to host the 2025 World Expo, until August of this year, when Yokohama announced that it was entering the race, Osaka Yumeshima was looking like it would become host to the grandest and most successful IR in Japan.
Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui is leaning toward a policy that would see the 49 hectares of land utilized for IR development at Yumeshima rented to the operator rather than sold.
On Monday, the Osaka city government held the first meeting of its “Yumeshima Development Promotion Headquarters” at the City Hall building under the direct leadership of Mayor Ichiro Matsui. Officials from the prefectural government, such as Vice-Governor Seigo Tanaka, were also in attendance.
Last week Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui revealed that seven operators have registered for the RFC process to build an IR at Osaka Yumeshima, including what he called “all Top Five” of the world’s casino companies.
Osaka's main political leaders publicly attacked the national government's decision to delay the issuance of regulations for the IR bidding process, describing it as both bad policy and weak politics.
The electoral victories of Hirofumi Yoshimura, Ichiro Matsui, and their Osaka Restoration Association last Sunday were impressive, but not entirely complete. They will, however, hold a strong hand going forward on the IR development issue.
The Ichiro Matsui and Hirofumi Yoshimura leadership team has been retained by the voters of Osaka, though they have now switched offices—Yoshimura will be governor and Matsui will be mayor.
A new public opinion poll by the Nihon Keizai Shinbun found that a plurality of Osakans now support the concept of building an IR at Yumeshima, which is an unprecedented result for a newspaper poll examining a major urban market in Japan.
Signs were emerging over the weekend that an LDP victory in the Osaka Cross Elections could lead to putting the brakes on the plan to build an IR at Yumeshima.
The Osaka Restoration Association’s task of returning to power in the April 7 elections has become much more difficult now that it has become clear that the influential Komeito party has effectively betrayed its local political alliance and has defected to the opposition side of the Liberal Democratic Party.
The troubling scenario of political instability that first reared its head in late December has come to pass—Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura have announced their resignations in the face of frustrations at the political impasse over their scheme to administratively unify the prefecture and the city.
A visit to the sparkling new IR at Osaka Yumeshima could be considerably less entertaining if it becomes a major hassle to get on and off of the relatively isolated island where it is located.
At the very end of 2018, after looking rock solid for many months, political instability hit Osaka as both Governor Ichiro Matsui and Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura announced that they were prepared to resign their posts early in order to provoke early elections in April 2019.
A team of Las Vegas Sands senior executives led by President and COO Robert Goldstein became the first IR operators to hold a meeting with Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura since Osaka won its bid to host the 2025 World Expo.
Leaving no stone unturned in his campaign to win the bid to host the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui has set off to Malaysia and Pakistan in an effort to gain their votes.
Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui controversially left his typhoon-struck prefecture on Sunday for a weeklong tour of Europe, aiming to promote his bid to host the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima island in Osaka.
For the second time this summer Osaka has been hit by a major natural disaster—first the Osaka Earthquake in June and now Typhoon No. 21. Both of them were of sufficient severity that they would have forced an IR at Yumeshima to close down part of its operations for a least a day or two, and would have led many tourists to cancel their plans to visit.
Just as he did with the IR Implementation Act, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui is once again pushing the national government to speed up its deliberations and to move with greater alacrity. He says that Osaka wants to tentatively select its operator partner within a year with an eye to opening the Yumeshima IR by 2024.
Mainichi Shinbun broke the story on Friday that a PwC consultant working for the Osaka government on the development of IR policies was seen eating and drinking aboard MGM Resort’s Tenjin Festival boat last week, allegedly raising questions about his troubling degree of fraternization with one of the operators expected to bid for an IR license at the Yumeshima site.
In anticipation of a hot bidding war among international IR operators for the Yumeshima location, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui has begun to outline strict ethics rules for public employees when they make contact with the competing businesses.
Izumisano city in Osaka Prefecture has not given up its hopes of hosting an IR, even though rival Yumeshima has been backed by the incumbent governor.
Immediately before the Golden Week holidays, on April 27 and 28, the inaugural Kansai IR Showcase was held in central Osaka, hosted by by Tradeshow Organizers, Inc. The top political leaders of Osaka opened the event, and large-scale exhibits were presented by six major international casino operators.
In a Wednesday press conference, Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui expressed his frustration with other national opposition parties for their boycott of legislative business, making it less likely that the IR Implementation Bill can be passed in the current Diet session.
As Caesars Entertainment president and CEO Mark Frissora tours Japan this week, company executives are meeting with local officials and the media, as well as announcing a whole host of new developments that clearly puts Caesars among the front rank of international IR operators seeking a license in Japan.
On the issue of IR development in Japan, the Shinzo Abe government has, from start to finish, acted like a political bulldozer, assuming that the opposition parties and the majority opinion of the Japanese people could simply be swept aside by overwhelming force. This approach has indeed taken them a long way forward, but the costs are now mounting and the limits may be in sight.