The Osaka prefectural assembly will hold an extraordinary assembly on 29 July to vote on whether to hold a referendum on Osaka’s IR bid in response to opposition from an anti-IR group.
The assembly is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance that day, but with Ishin no Kai (the Innovative Party) as the majority, it is not expected to pass.
As reported by IAG, a citizen’s group revealed in May that it had gathered more than the number of signatures required to call for a referendum challenging Osaka’s IR bid, which it had submitted to the government. According to the group, an examination by the election committee had confirmed a final total of 192,773 signatures, well above the 146,000 required to call a referendum.
The petition was submitted to Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura on 21 July, directly demanding a referendum be arranged. Governor Yoshimura has submitted it with his own opinion to the regular prefectural assembly.
At a press conference, Yoshimura stated, “The prefectural assembly has already decided on the [IR] bid. The application has already been made to the national government. I don’t think there is any reason to hold a referendum. However, the final decision is to be made at the assembly. The legal procedure is to hold an assembly on the issue.”
The planned developer and operator of Osaka’s IR is a special purpose company called Osaka IR, led by US casino giant MGM Resorts International and local partner ORIX Corp. The area development plan stipulates the Osaka IR will open on the reclaimed Yumeshima in 2029. Annual visitors are estimated at 20 million with annual sales of JPY 520 billion (US$3.8 billion) and an annual economic ripple effects of JPY 1.14 trillion (US$8.4 billion).