The cold wave currently hitting Japan has not managed to cool down Osaka’s ambitions in the IR candidate city race.
On 1 January 2019, the “IR Local Alliance” – an organization made up of key small-medium business players in Osaka – commissioned a video commercial to be shown in the city’s 3000-strong taxi fleet. At the end of last year, wrap advertising was used on circular route buses to promote the benefits of IRs to the citizens of Osaka.
We are also starting to witness movements on the political front. According to one leading Japanese newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, Osaka Prefecture along with the city of Osaka is planning to set aside JPY2.15 million (US$20,000) of its 2019 budget for the selection committee who will choose the city’s operator partner.
The selection committee is expected to comprise a maximum of 10 intellectuals, such as university professors, who will hold approximately five meetings before the final decision on an operator is made. The city will cover half of the operating costs.
Further, the “Osaka IR Promotion Bureau”, an internal cooperative organization between the prefecture and the city established in April 2017, will be enhanced to include 38 staff members. It is likely that a JPY330 million (US$3 million) will be included in the 2019 budget for this.
The IR Development Act stipulates there can be a maximum of three domestic .Osaka is a major player in the administration and finance, leads other local governments and is set on selecting an operator as early as this summer.
The six front runners include the likes of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts and Entertainment.