Company: Tomakomai City
Family Name: Iwakura
Given Name: Hirofumi
Role: Mayor of Tomakomai City
IR Stance: Advocate
Profile: Originally a businessman in the home construction industry, Iwakura flirted with national politics for a number of years before his first election as Tomakomai mayor in 2006, with conservative ruling party support.
The decision by Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki to drop out of the Japan IR race does not simply remove one more local government from contention, it also represents the collapse of what was arguably the strongest IR initiative outside of the Kansai and Kanto regions, the regional IR which probably would have produced the highest financial returns.
Political and business groups in favor of building an IR in Tomakomai city are mobilizing their forces in an attempt to ensure that Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki will decide to move forward with the contemplated IR bid.
Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki, who has been taking a go-slow approach on his decision whether or not to pursue an IR bid for the Tomakomai location, has now clearly indicated for the first time that he will hand down his verdict by the end of this year, not early next year as had been anticipated by most observers.
The Hokkaido Prefectural Government has announced that it will be holding explanation meetings with the general public in five locations to both talk about its research on the issue of IR development, as well as to seek public views about the matter.
In the wake of the elections last Sunday, the political forces within the Tomakomai City Council that support Mayor Hirofumi Iwakura and the city’s IR bid have strengthened their hand.
Hard Rock Japan’s Tomakomai office has now opened—shortly after the election of Governor Naomichi Suzuki and a conservative prefectural assembly has kept the city’s IR hopes very much alive.
The inaugural Hokkaido IR Showcase came to a close last Thursday, as seven IR operators and numerous other Japanese companies and associations exhibited at the first public IR event to be held in the prefecture.
Tomakomai Mayor Hirofumi Iwakura, a strong advocate for hosting an IR in his northern Japanese city, won a fourth 4-year term in office after no other candidate registered before the filing deadline.