Japan’s new Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, faced his first inquiries at the House of Representatives on Monday where he confirmed his belief that developing integrated resorts was an important step in achieving the nation’s future tourism goals.
“[IR] is an important initiative for Japan to become an advanced tourism nation in the future,” Kishida said. “We are proceeding appropriately with the necessary procedures.”
Kishida was grilled by a number of house members over IRs, with Kiyomi Tsujimoto, Deputy Representative of the Constitutional Democratic Party, asking whether an IR, MICE and similar facilities would be effective business models in a post-pandemic world. He also raised concerns regarding gambling addiction, stating, “[The Constitutional Democratic Party] has submitted a bill to abolish the IR/Casino bill. We would like [the prime minister] to demonstrate national policy.”
Kishida replied, “IR is a crucial element of becoming an advanced tourism nation. A domestic IR will take measures against addiction and will build not only a casino but also build international conference halls and large hotels as a tourism base that can be enjoyed by families. IR attracts a lot of tourists and the regional economic ripple effect is significant.
“The various regional governments are currently preparing their IR applications, including risk assessments. We will continue to move forward with the necessary procedures, including the implementation of strict regulations on casinos based on the IR Development Act and other legislation.”
With Osaka, Nagasaki and Wakayama having now all named their preferred IR partners, they will now prepare respective area development plans and submit their bids to the central government by 28 April 2022.