The Japanese government has confirmed that it will postpone the publication of the fundamental policy regarding the establishment of integrated resorts until after the summer upper house election.
Speculation is mounting that the deeply-rooted concerns of local citizens regarding the opening of a casino may affect how they vote. Depending on how things play out, the postponement could extend through to next year.
The national government originally announced that the publication of the fundamental policy would take place this summer. It had also planned to establish the regulatory Casino Administration Committee by July but submissions for members of the five-person committee, including its chairperson, have now been postponed as well until after the autumn extraordinary Diet session.
The IR Implementation Act, promulgated in July of last year, stipulates that a governing board be established within 18 months and a Fundamental Policy disclosed to the public within two years of the act passing. Local governing bodies hoping to make a bid have already determined enforcement policies that include operator criteria based on the Fundamental Policy. Selected operators will apply for national accreditation by submitting a summary of their IR development plan. The Minister of Land and Transport will accredit up to three locations.
The hopes of candidate cities such as Osaka and Wakayama to open their IRs by 2024 also appear unlikely given this recent delay.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura appealed to the national government stating, “Please don’t waste time playing games and get to it.”
Ichiro Matsui, mayor of Osaka City, also emphasized his longstanding position of opening an IR before the Osaka-Kansai World Expo 2025.