Company: Yokohama City
Family Name: Fujiki
Given Name: Yukio
Organization: Yokohama Harbor Transport Association
IR Stance: Opponent
Profile: President of the Fujiki Transportation and Stevedoring Company since 1970, Fujiki is also the influential chairman of the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association. Although an advocate for the further development of the Yamashita Pier area, he took a different position from most local business leaders by opposing the establishment of a casino in Yokohama.
Yokohama Harbor Transport Association Chairman Yukio Fujiki may be the top leader of opposition to an IR bid at Yamashita Pier, but a chorus of other voices arose last week, making clear that he is far from alone, and that Mayor Fumiko Hayashi will be facing heavy dissent over her unpopular decision.
Yokohama Harbor Transport Association Chairman Yukio Fujiki, the 89-year-old “don of Yokohama” who controls part of Yamashita Pier, the proposed site for the IR, has vowed, “I shall not be evicted,” signaling his all-out resistance to Mayor Fumiko Hayashi’s new policy of favoring a bid.
The Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry appears to have been taken by surprise by the news reports on Monday that the city government had decided to move forward with an IR bid, but they expressed their delight.
The municipal government told reporters on Monday that Yokohama’s long period of indecision had ended and that Mayor Fumiko Hayashi would announce later in the week that her city would seek to host a major urban IR at the 47-hectare Yamashita Pier location.
Since January 2017 Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has insisted that she is a “blank slate” on the issue an making an IR bid, but her actions and the logic of the few public statements that she makes continues to suggest that she remains the IR advocate that she had been up to the end of 2016.
Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi is facing renewed indications that the plan to build a major IR at Yamashita Pier will face fierce political opposition both from a significant portion of the business community and a majority of the population.
The Yokohama city government released on Monday a more detailed summary the results of the RFI process carried out last summer, revealing, for example, that the investment amounts proposed by the operators for the development of an IR at the Yamashita Pier location ranged from a low of 620 billion yen (about US$5.6 billion) to a high of 1.3 trillion yen (about US$11.8 billion).
Yokohama Harbor Transport Association Chairman Yukio Fujiki is stepping up his efforts to head off an IR bid in his city by establishing a new anti-casino called the “Yokohama Harbor Resort Association.”
Leaders of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry are making another push for an IR bid in their city, this time announcing that they will form an “IR Promotion Council” by the end of the year.
Yokohama business leaders used the opportunity of a conference on Saturday to renew their request for the municipal government to make a bid for an IR license.
Opponents of plans for IRs to be built within their communities have begun seizing upon the same idea—they are demanding that no IR construction should be approved in their municipalities without going to the local people and asking their consent through a popular referendum.
In front of around seven hundred politicians and businesspeople on the morning of July 18, the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association unveiled its vision for the development of Yamashita Pier, including what would become Japan’s largest MICE facility, with all the main elements of an Integrated Resort, minus a casino.
Yukio Edano, the top opposition leader in the country, told an audience in Saitama city that the establishment of IRs in Japan is tantamount to “selling the country,” and a system in which the gambling losses of the Japanese people would be used to line the pockets of rich American businesspeople.
Chairman Yukio Fujiki of the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association reiterated in an interview with the Mainichi Shinbun his strong opposition to the siting of an IR at Yamashita Pier. He also suggested that if the city government nevertheless will not be deterred in its desire to host a casino, then they should look to convert a local US military base instead.
Yumiko Araki, head of the nine-member Japan Communist Party caucus within the Yokohama City Council, tells AGB Nippon in an exclusive interview that she believes Mayor Fumiko Hayashi intends to go forward with an IR bid, but attention may now be shifting from Yamashita Pier to Minato Mirai as the most likely location.
Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi is again reaffirming the “blank slate” position on hosting an IR which she first adopted over a year ago