The second Expo/Growth IR/Yumeshima Development Symposium was held on Monday at the Osaka University Nakanoshima Center in Osaka’s Kita Ward, with the event attracting 500 participants.
The Symposium was hosted by the Yumeshima New Industry Creation Research Group, made up of industry, academia and public sectors and sponsored by Kansai Association of Corporate Executives and The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry among others. The first event was held in February.
Shinichi Fukushima, President and Representative Director of the Osaka International Convention Center, opened by commenting, “The IR bid is already reaching the final stages. There is no doubt that it will be an unprecedented growth-type IR, and an Osaka IR and World Expo will energize Osaka.”
Ken Okuyama, an industrial designer and Chief Design Officer of the Osaka Metro Group, gave a special lecture on the theme of “designing the next 50 years”, presenting many innovative ideas.
Afterwards, a representative of Yumeshima New Creation Research Group made a presentation. Yoshikazu Noda, Higashiosaka City Mayor, and Koichi Tomoda, President of Kansai Medical University took the stage. Each expressed their expectations for development of an Osaka IR.
Two of the three operators to have expressed their intentions to bid for an Osaka IR also promoted their policies.
Ed Bowers, CEO of MGM Resorts Japan, said, “The first Japanese IR must be the best in the world. For that purpose, partnerships with the local area are important. MGM and ORIX are all in. For us, it’s only Osaka.”
Meanwhile, Satoshi Okabe, General Manager at Galaxy Entertainment Group Japan, emphasized the company’s strong financial position, their support for junior soccer and their mentorship program with Toyo University.
“Our strength lies in our ability to attract Chinese customers,” Okabe said. “Currently half of the overseas visitors to Osaka are Chinese. This is where we can showcase our skill.”
He also mentioned that he hoped to bring a European flavor to Osaka, touching on the company’s partnership with Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, adding that Galaxy “hopes to cooperate with a Japanese partner in the near future.”
Initially, seven operators expressed their intent to bid for an Osaka IR license but four of these, including Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts, have since withdrawn leaving MGM, Galaxy and Genting Singapore as the three remaining contenders.
Osaka prefecture plans to formally start accepting operator proposals before the end of 2019 and make its selection next spring.