The Hokkaido Financial Special Committee indicated on Wednesday that an assessment of the environmental impact of an integrated resort (IR) at the preferred candidate site of Tomakomai City was expected to take three years.
The news comes after Hokkaido Tomokomai City Council permitted a supplementary budget for October 2019, including approximately JPY18 million in expenses for an environmental impact assessment of candidate sites for an IR in an extraordinary meeting.
If an environmental impact assessment does take three years, even if Tomakomai city is successful in its IR bid, it seems unlikely that an IR could open by the mid-2020s as hoped by the national government. This is seen to be a very important development for IR promotion groups.
Osaka prefecture and city, which have long been the most proactive in pursuing an IR, are aiming for an early 2024 opening and have announced they will carry out an environmental impact assessment ahead of selecting an IR operator. It is unclear if a similar policy will be followed in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki is slated to make a decision about an IR bid before the end of the year.