Yokohamas IR Promotion Office to close in October as new mayor confirms end to IR bid

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Takeharu Yamanaka

0SHARES2VIEWS Takeharu Yamanaka, the new mayor of Yokohama city, officially confirmed in his city council general policy speech on Friday that he would withdraw the IR bid.

Yamanaka said, I am announcing here the withdrawal of the IR bid. We will immediately cease the operator selection process and promptly commence the necessary procedures. The IR Promotion Office will be abolished as of 1 October.

On 6 September, the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is in favor of an IR bid in Yokohama, submitted a request to Mayor Yamanaka for economic measures and promotion of an IR.

Chairman Ueno of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, I think that if we withdraw the project, we will not be able to anticipate the robust future development of Yokohama that the mayor is hoping for. The request stated, An IR is critical for the future reconstruction of Yokohama’s economy.

Former Mayor Fumiko Hayashi declared Yokohamas intention to bid for an IR in August 2019 but the issue proved contentious and was a central focus of last months election, which saw Yamanaka strongly opposing such a facility.

Now that Yokohama is off the IR table, for now at least, there are three remaining local governments with an active IR project: Osaka prefecture/city, Nagasaki prefecture and Wakayama prefecture.

Nagasaki recently signed a basic agreement with Casinos Austria and Wakayama its ownbasic agreement with the Clairvest Group, both hoping to make an application to the central government before the deadline of 28 April 2022.

Osaka is still in the RFP stage, but with only one candidate it is expected that the MGM Resorts and ORIX consortium will soon be confirmed as the prefectures preferred partner.

Japan has long stated its plan to certify up to three areas for development of an IR although there is no guarantee that all three remaining locations will win national approval.