Company: Osaka City
Family Name: Yoshimura
Given Name: Hirofumi
Party: Japan Innovation Party
Role: Governor of Osaka Prefecture
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Yoshimura was a local lawyer recruited by the Osaka Restoration Association, first as a city councilman in 2011 and then for the House of Representatives in 2014. When party leader Toru Hashimoto resigned as Osaka mayor in 2015 after failing to win a referendum on merging Osaka prefecture and city, Yoshimura became Hashimoto’s handpicked successor, winning his first election as mayor. In April 2019, he successfully ran for the position of Osaka governor.
Once again looking for any means to speed through the process in order to open its anticipated Yumeshima IR before the 2025 World Expo, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura confirmed in a press conference that the Osaka RFP process would be launched before the end of this year and that Osaka aimed to select its IR operator partner next spring.
Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has announced plans to solicit public donations to plant 2025 cherry blossom trees across Osaka Prefecture in preparation for the 2025 World Expo to be held at Yumeshima.
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.
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.
New Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has wasted little time in launching his prefecture’s RFC process and has provided an anticipated timeline for the development of the Yumeshima IR.
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.
The public and private sectors in Osaka are making it increasingly clear that their ambitions are not confined to creating a major tourist attraction at Yumeshima itself through the 2025 World Expo and the IR, but also to leverage this activity to reignite the stalled development of the wider Osaka Bay area.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura revealed in an interview with the Sankei Shinbun that he envisions attracting Formula One racing to Yumeshima after the 2025 World Expo is completed. This is only one part of the rapidly emerging vision for the manmade island, and how it may impact the local economy.
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.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura says that the newly developed Yumeshima will need not only rail links, but also high-speed ferry services and wider bridges in order to meet the traffic needs of the future, and that all of this should be completed by FY2024.
Osaka city is firming up its intention to ask its IR consortium to contribute 20 billion yen (about US$180 million) of the costs of extending rail links to the undeveloped, manmade island of Yumeshima, expected to host both the 2025 World Expo and a major urban IR in the mid-2020s.
The development of the homely man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay into a glittering center of international attention has progressed from just an ambitious prospect to an impending reality now that the Bureau International des Expositions has agreed that the 2025 World Expo will be hosted there.
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.
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.
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.