Inside Asian Gaming sat down for an exclusive interview with the CEO of Japan’s Pixel Companyz, Hiroaki Yoshida, ahead of Monday’s announcement that the firm will pursue an IR bid in Nagasaki.
Tomo Yamamoto: Thank you for taking time to speak with us.
Hiroaki Yoshida: My pleasure. I’m quite excited. Now that the project is announced it’s like the starting pistol has finally been shot. We can finally get started.
TY: Pixel originated in Osaka. What can you tell us about the company?
HY: It’s really changed since [we were in Osaka]. Our three business pillars are entertainment, technology and development. We got involved in joint development of a resort hotel in Miyakojima this past June. We are also working on gaming machines and system development, so we plan to take an approach to IRs that integrates all of these things.
TY: What attracted you to IR development in the first place?
HY: We’ve always had interest in IRs. Even five years ago, we ended up joint-developing a casino gaming machine at the request of a client. It really opened our eyes to the possibilities that an IR brings and that’s when we started researching. It wasn’t long after that when Japan’s IR bill passed and we have become more proactive as time goes on.
TY: And why Nagasaki?
HY: The one concept we weren’t ready to compromise on was regional revitalization. We weren’t interested in a major metropolitan area. We determined that Nagasaki was the place where history, culture and tourism resources could really make regional revitalization through an IR possible.
TY: You seem to really like Nagasaki.
HY: Nagasaki prefecture is rich in nature and boasts 900 beautiful islands. There are hot springs and the potential is high. I can’t go into detail about the economic and employment effects at this stage, but we believe what we have in mind will set off a wave from Nagasaki through the entirety of Kyushu. The best part is that the politics on IRs is stable in Nagasaki and the process has been established. The staff in the prefectural building have deep insight and all of Kyushu is united.
TY: So you’re prepared then? It sounds like you’re just waiting for the day to arrive.
HY: We are building good relationships with successful companies across various genres, starting with the Miyakojima Resort Hotel. That’s what we’re aiming for. At the end of October we were honored to announce the members of our consortium for IR development.
TY: One of those is the IR operator Partouche Groupe of France. How did that come about?
HY: First of all, they are successful in Europe. Nagasaki has a strong western cultural influence, so we felt there was compatibility there.
TY: What are Pixel’s strengths?
HY: We have been able to gather French and American companies, enjoying a team full of diversity. By serving as the hub of the overseas and Japanese companies, we believe we can build an IR completely unique to Japan that skillfully fuses continental and western cultures and as a listed company, we have a strong sense of social responsibility. We have gathered strong members across all sectors and with our experience we have learned both good and bad, so we will optimize.
TY: We are currently fighting a pandemic and it’s getting worse in many places around the world. Why now?
HY: Japan’s (Revised) Basic Policy Draft was finally announced about a month ago after a long delay, and the new schedule was disclosed. While the local government application period was postponed by nine months, as an operator we felt this was the best timing.
TY: What’s next?
HY: We want to create gaming and other contents that only we can make, to introduce to an IR. We need to continue to partner with companies that can complement in areas where we lack. Now that we have announced our entry in the market we can plan further expansion and accelerate our relationship-building like we want.