The Mayor of Fukuoka City, Soichiro Takashima, has rejected calls to enter Japan’s IR race, responding to a plan by the Junior Chamber International Fukuoka (JCI) with, “The timing is not right.”
While the Mayor admitted there is justification for further discussion, he insisted, “We are not in a situation to consider it now” due to issues surrounding problem gambling.
The JCI created a concept proposal that focuses on Fukuoka’s strengths such as access from the airport. The proposal includes attracting tourists from home and abroad to maintain and improve the city’s vitality, centered on luxury hotels and a highly profitable casino.
Four potential sites are named, including Saitozaki/Shika Island, the former site of Kyushu University Hakozaki Campus, Chuo Pier and Koto/Nokono Island. Yokohama, Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki have already confirmed their intention to pursue an IR bid. Mayor Takashima said, “The battle for an IR has already begun. It would be hard to catch up.”
The JCI believes a Fukuoka IR would bring benefits to Kyushu as a whole but the Governor’s Association and Kyushu businesses have been pushing instead for an IR at Sasebo city’s Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki, planning to provide united support for the bid. The mayor’s feeling that it’s a little too late is understandable.