Japanese media outlets are reporting that the head of the Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) is under the impression that Osaka City’s Integrated Resort (IR) District Development Plan will be approved by Japan’s national government before the end of January. The IR plan includes Japan’s first casino.
An unnamed member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the party in power, is reported to have discussed this possibility with the leadership of the Japan Innovation Party.
As reported in Japanese media and other Asian outlets, MP Nobuyuki Baba said: “Top people of the party have worked on the government and LDP. The party now has come to think that the government would give a decision, which should be positive for Osaka, before the Diet session starts,” MP Baba was quoted as saying late last week.
The next session of the parliament is expected to start in January, having recently concluded an extra session earlier in December.
Leaders Say Time to Act on Osaka Casino
In April the IR plan was submitted to the national government and several politicians including Baba have been urging action on the proposal.
The path to an integrated resort and casino in Japan has been a decades-long quest with only the last several years seeing appreciable progress. The late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was seen to champion the cause.
The full complex, which would include a gambling center operated by MGM Resorts International, is expected to cost some US$8.1 billion to complete based on today’s exchange rates which remain relatively stable.
Integrated Resort to be Built on Reclaimed Island in Bay
The resort is planned to be built on Yumeshima island in Osaka Bay. The location has raised some environmental and other concerns with national leaders who have asked local authorities to weigh in on how those concerns would be addressed.
The artificial island is slated for further construction and local authorities in Osaka have opened a public consultation on the issue that is expected to be open for several months.
Indications are that the resort would not open much before 2030. According to a report by GGRAsia, the current governor of Osaka prefecture recently announced he would run for reelection, and part of his platform would be to “implement a growth strategy in tandem with Osaka city”. The integrated resort and casino project and the upcoming Expo 2025 slated for the island are expected to be the main planks of the growth platform.
Source: Japan govt may nod Osaka IR plan within January: MP, GGRAsia, Dec 23, 2022