A Yokohama residents group has submitted its petition calling for a referendum regarding the city’s planned IR bid.
Approximately 200,000 signatures were collected for the petition, three times the number required to make the request for a referendum.
Setsu Kobayashi, joint representative of the Yokohama Citizens’ Group to Decide on a Casino, commented, “One in fifteen citizens has requested that we are allowed to make the decision in favor of or against an [IR] and we urge the city council to not ignore us.”
In response, Yokohama city’s mayor, Fumiko Hayashi stated, “Over 200,000 signatures have been collected and I am very aware that our residents are very concerned and worried about realizing an IR.”
Businesses who have warehousing facilities at Yamashita Pier, the potential location of an IR bid, have been consistent in their opposition to the project.
Among them, 90-year-old Yukio Fujiki, Chairman of the Yokohama Port Harbor Resort Association, who is also known as the “Don of Yokohama”, has dismissed the IR bid, saying, “I will never allow a casino.”
The validity of the signatures will now be examined by the elections officer and then Mayor Hayashi will be requested to enact a referendum ordinance. If that ordinance is passed by the city council, a referendum will be held.
The majority of the Yokohama city council is in favor of an IR bid, and there is still the possibility of opposition to the ordinance.