Hokkaido has shelved the inclusion of expenses related to a possible future IR bid in its new general accounting budget, announced on 18 February.
Despite the announcement by Governor Naomichi Suzuki in November that Hokkaido was withdrawing from Japan’s IR race, consideration had been given to its budgetary inclusion with an eye to potentially revisiting the idea in the coming years.
As of mid-January, Hokkaido was allocating considering tens of million of JPY for expenses relating to IRs, such as overseas research of MICE and large-scale international conferences and exhibitions. Governor Suzuki had expressed his intention to continue with the bid, and that there were implications for Tomakomai city and businesses who had been hoping for the project’s advancement.
However, it seems the prefecture has been swayed by growing negativity in public opinion after the recent IR corruption scandal involving House of Representatives member Tsukasa Akimoto.
TheLiberal Democratic Party chairman for Hokkaido and Hokkaido Assembly chairman, Noritoshi Murata, who has been cautious to the concept of IR, stated that now is not the time for IRs to be included in the budget and that he would oppose it if it was proposed.