A group of residents who had previously requested a referendum regarding a Yokohama IR have established a new organization targeting the mayoral election this summer, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.
The purpose will be to support those candidates opposing an IR. Setsu Kobayashi, Professor Emeritus of Keio University, and others involved in the campaign held a press conference at Yokohama City Hall on Tuesday where they revealed their intentions to work toward a unified opposition candidate.
The name of the organization will be “Yokohama Citizens Association for a Mayor Opposing a Casino.” Around 20 people participated, including co-representatives of Kobayashi as well as Hiroyuki Mizukami of the Yokohama Port Harbor Resort Association. Yokohama Port is where businesses opposing the project are largely concentrated.
At the press conference, Kobayashi took issue with the fact that Mayor Fumiko Hayashi had publicly disagreed with a draft ordinance that had collected 190,000 signatures, leading to the city council rejecting a referendum. He called for candidates to oppose a casino and respect the will of people.
Masataka Ota, an opponent of Yokohama’s IR plans, has already announced his intention to run in the election for Yokohama mayor in August. Hayashi has not made clear whether she intends to run.
A public relations magazine issued by the city to “get to know the IR business accurately” was criticized by opposition lawmakers. Negotiations to relocate the warehouses at Yamashita Wharf, the planned IR site, have stalled.