Company: Wakayama City
Family Name: Nisaka
Given Name: Yoshinobu
Role: Governor of Wakayama Prefecture
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: After spending many years as a MITI (now METI) bureaucrat, as well as a stint as the ambassador to Brunei, Nisaka successfully ran for governor in 2006. He was reelected in 2010 and 2014.
Suncity Group Executive Director John Au Chung On made clear at a symposium on Monday that his company was planning to make an IR bid in Japan, and that Wakayama was a location that they are focusing on.
Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka purports to being unshaken by Yokohama’s entry into the IR race, despite the fact that it suggests that all of Japan’s regional markets—Hokkaido, Nagasaki, and others—may be competing for a single available IR license.
The Wakayama IR Experts Committee under the chairmanship of Tokyo University Professor Emeritus Motoshige Ito held its first meeting on Tuesday, launching a new phase in the prefecture’s campaign to bring an IR to the Marina City location.
Wakayama Mayor Masahiro Obana made clear at a press conference on Thursday that he is not in full alignment with Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka over the project to build an IR at Marina City—he still insists that entry to the casino must be limited to foreign tourists.
Groupe Lucien Barrière staked its claim in Wakayama on Tuesday with three major moves: opening their only Japanese office in that city, bringing their official brand ambassador Jean Reno for a tour, and meeting with Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka.
This past weekend, Bloomberry Resorts Japan was the sole “special sponsor” for the 1st Annual Wakayama Santa Run held outside Wakayama Castle, tightening its links with the community where its IR ambitions appear to be centered.
Yoshinobu Nisaka defeated his anti-casino opponent Masayoshi Hatanaka to win a fourth term as Governor of Wakayama Prefecture, thus clearing the political path for an IR bid.
On Thursday the official election period began for the Wakayama gubernatorial race, pitting the pro-IR incumbent Yoshinobu Nisaka against the anti-casino challenger Masayoshi Hatanaka. This is precisely the same match-up as was the case four years ago. Election Day is November 25.
Gathering at a hotel in Wakayama city, Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka once again promoted the concept of building an IR at the Marina City location, this time explaining the contents of the revised plan released by the prefectural government last week.
On Tuesday the Wakayama Prefectural Government published its revised IR plan taking into account aspects of the IR Implementation Act and suggestions made by the 33 companies, including seven international IR operators, that participated in the RFI process which concluded in August.
Wakayama Prefecture’s leading political activist against an IR at Marina City, Masayoshi Hatanaka, is throwing his hat into to ring to run as governor in the November 25 election.
The Wakayama Prefectural Government has established an eight-member team to work full-time on the project of bringing an IR to the Marina City location. Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka told reporters that more staff members might be added to the team from next April 1.
Despite formidable obstacles, Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka is undeterred in his pursuit of an IR at the Marina City location.
On Tuesday, the Wakayama Prefectural Government published a report called “Wakayama Prefecture IR Basic Concept,” which provided specific data and projections, and also dropped its proposal to exclude Japanese from the casino.
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.