Constitutional Democratic Party representative Masataka Ota, a member of the Yokohama City Assembly and opponent of IR development, has announced he will run in the mayoral election for Yokohama City in August as an independent.
The 75-year-old held a press conference at Yokohama City Hall on Friday, stating: “If I become the mayor of Yokohama, the casino issue will disappear that very day. To put it plainly, I will not do casinos.
“I have been consistent in my message that casinos cause problems and are not a good thing. I do not believe there is any other way to save Yokohama but to become mayor myself.”
Ota has been elected to the Yokohama city council 11 times and is currently a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party. The Kanagawa branch of the party said nothing had been decided when asked by IAG Japan whether they would promote Ota.
Incumbent Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has not yet disclosed her intention to run for office again.
Japan’s national government last year postponed the application period for locations and their selected operator partners by nine months, with the period now scheduled to run from 1 October 2021 to 28 April 2022.
This has resulted in the application period beginning after Yokohama’s August mayoral elections, making the race essentially do or die for operators hoping to develop an integrated resort in Yokohama.