Japanese government officials have announced that the timing for drafting the Basic Policy, which will stipulate the standards for Integrated Resort (IR) selection, is now up in the air, as reported by Sankei Shimbun on Monday.
The government had originally planned to draft the Basic Policy before 26 July, representing two full years since the official announcement of the Act on Promotion of Development of Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Areas (IR Development Act). However, as the Basic Policy will now require inclusion of countermeasures for COVID-19, the government is proceeding cautiously and has deemed the timing for announcement of the policy to be “undecided.”
The government is, though, maintaining its goal of opening the nation’s first IR in the mid-2020s as a catalyst for increasing visitation to Japan as the pillar of the country’s growth strategy.
That goal may already conflict with the plans of local officials, with Osaka having already abandoned its original ambition of opening an IR prior to the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Japan Expo, saying there is not enough time. Now, the fact that there is officially no set schedule for drafting the Basic Policy, which is a prerequisite for establishing the local governments’ public offerings and selection of IR operators, suggests a high possibility of further delays to the work of local governments and operators.
When it is finally complete, Japan’s IR Basic Policy will serve as the selection criteria for the up to three IR locations to be selected by the central government. The original expectation was that the policy would be announced in January of this year, based on the Basic Policy proposal, which was published in November of last year.
But with December’s 500.com bribery scandal enhancing the perceived need for the addition of regulations governing interactions between public servants and operators, and the more recent requirement to include infection prevention measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Basic Policy has now been pushed back twice.