Governor says Wakayama may withdraw from Japans IR race if remaining candidate Clairvest deemed unlikely to win

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Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka has suggested that the prefecture may opt against taking part in Japans IR selection process should it deem the sole remaining operator, Clairvest Neem Ventures, unlikely to win national approval.

His comments, reported by local media this week following the withdrawal of Wakayamas only other candidate, Suncity Group, suggest that officials are no certainty of naming Clairvest as the prefectures IR operator partner.

Wakayama had been due to name the successful candidate from its RFP in mid-April but had put that decision on hold in the weeks before Suncitys withdrawal.

It is not ideal that there is only one company and we just choose them or dont, Governor Nisaka said at a press conference on Tuesday.

He was further quoted by local newspaper Agaraas stating, If it is very unlikely that the area development plan we propose to the national government will pass, then we will not select this operator.

However, Nisaka also said, Not making a selection means giving up on the idea of IR for a few years. I have been promoting it for a long time. There are few investment projects of this size for employment and income. I think we should definitely take this chance for the future of Wakayama.

The prefecture’s selection committee will continue to examine Clairvest Neem Ventures (Tokyo) and is expected to announce its decision in the coming weeks.

The prefecture’s IR Promotion Office emphasized that it does not intend to change the schedule.

We will continue to examine the remaining operator’s suitability and publish the selection method and evaluation process along with documentation for transparency, a representative said.

If Clairvest is selected, a regional development plan will be prepared and submitted to the government by 28 April 2022. If the application is approved, the goal is to open an IR by spring 2026.

Wakayama joins Osaka as locations with just a single operator candidate remaining before a winner has even been named.