Company: Tomakomai City
Family Name: Suzuki
Given Name: Naomichi
Role: Governor of Hokkaido
IR Stance: Unclear
Profile: Originally deployed to Hokkaido by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2008, Suzuki went on to serve two terms as mayor of Yubari. At the time of his first election in 2011, he was the youngest city mayor in the nation. In April 2019 he ran for the open position of Hokkaido Governor and was successfully elected.
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.
Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki has made clear that Yokohama’s entry into the IR race will not exercise any influence on his own decision as regards Tomakomai’s potential bid, and that he won’t be rushed in conducting his own decision-making process.
The first Japan IR Expo in Hokkaido has been scheduled for December 11 and 12, 2019, highlighting continuing interest in Japan’s northernmost prefecture.
Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki, who has already signaled a go-slow approach on the matter, is now expected to delay until early 2020 his final decision on whether or not to go forward with an IR bid.
The Hokkaido Nature Conservation Society has come out against an IR bid from within the prefecture, arguing that it could damage the region’s precious natural environment.
If a new poll by the Hokkaido Shinbun is to be believed, public opinion in the northernmost prefecture has shifted strongly in opposition to an IR bid.
The central government’s delay in firming up the regulatory framework for the IR industry appears to have convinced new Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki that he might as well shift to a slower lane as well, taking more time to decide his basic policy on whether or not to pursue an IR bid.
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.
As the dust settles from the two rounds of the Unified Local Elections, the results that have emerged represent the best-case scenario for IR development, with conservatives in control of all of the key offices and legislative bodies.
Just days before she is set to leave office, outgoing Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi has made her clearest statements of support for the prefecture to back Tomakomai city’s prospective IR license bid.
Hokkaido Tourism Organization Chairman Yoshihiro Sekihachi made clear in recent statements to the Nihon Keizai Shinbun that he supports two specific measures to stimulate the growth of tourism: the development of an IR within the prefecture and instituting a special tourist tax.
Conservative Naomichi Suzuki defeated opposition-backed Tomohiro Ishikawa in the Hokkaido gubernatorial race, keeping open the prospect that Tomakomai city might be allowed to make an IR bid.
Media polls agree that Naomichi Suzuki, the conservative candidate backed by the ruling party, has the edge with about three weeks to go until the April 7 Hokkaido gubernatorial election.
Left-leaning opposition parties are stepping up their political push against the establishment of casino gambling within their local communities, provoking new developments in both the Kanagawa and Hokkaido gubernatorial election campaigns.
As the prefecture heads toward the April 7 gubernatorial and prefectural assembly elections, a poll conducted by the Hokkaido Shinbun found that 66% of local residents oppose the construction of an IR within the prefecture.
As anticipated, the issue of an IR bid is becoming one of the top points of contention in the Hokkaido gubernatorial race. To stress the vital importance he puts on the issue, Japan Communist Party Secretary-General Akira Koike, in a rare move, personally handed his party’s recommendation to the united opposition candidate Tomohiro Ishikawa at an event held, pointedly, at Tomakomai Citizen Hall.
After an unusually long period of complexity and confusion in both the conservative and opposition camps, it is now emerging that the April Hokkaido gubernatorial race will pit liberal Tomohiro Ishikawa, 45, against conservative Naomichi Suzuki, 37.
Naomichi Suzuki, the 37-year-old mayor of Yubari city, has stepped forward as the ruling party’s presumptive candidate for governor of Hokkaido prefecture. With his candidacy will lay the prospects for the Tomakomai IR development project to go forward.