Yukio Fujiki, head of the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association – made up of Yokohama Harbor’s port operators – has announced his retirement in order to focus on opposing the city’s IR bid.
At a general meeting held in Yokohama, the 89-year-old said, “I will be 90 years old in August. I would like to withdraw and make room for a new system.”
Fujiki, who will also step down as President of Fujiki Transportation and Stevedoring Co., Ltd will retain a consultancy role while his eldest son and current Vice Chairman, Kota Fujiki, will assume the Presidency of the family company.
According to Kanagawa Shimbun, Fujiki will now focus on campaigning for a withdrawal of the announced plan for an IR bid for Yamashita Pier. He will focus on his role as Chairman of the Yokohama Harbour Resort Association and aim for a redevelopment concept that does not depend on a casino.
The Yokohama Harbour Resort Association is an organization launched by Fujiki in May 2019 in opposition to a casino facility in a Yokohama IR. He has said, “It will only feed money into overseas businesses. There is also a serious problem with addiction.”
He has emphasized his strong opposition by stating, “It can’t happen no matter how much money it brings in,” and, “Even if the city tries to evict me [from the candidate IR site of Yamashita Pier], I will not go.”
Fujiki holds many roles, including President of Yokohama FM Broadcasting and Chairman of the prefecture’s baseball council, and he has many connections in the political and business worlds, earning him the nickname “The Don of ‘Hama’.”
With Fujiki’s announcement that he will devote himself to seeing the IR plan withdrawn, it is clear that Yokohama has a fight on its hands to fulfil its IR dream.