Nagasaki Court Begins Hearing Arguments on Public Money Lawsuit for IR Plans
- Citizens group files lawsuit to stop public money being spent on IR
- Nagasaki Gov. Kengo Oishi accused of improper spending
- Nagasaki District Court has commenced proceedings on the lawsuit
The Nagasaki District Court began hearing arguments on October 18, 2022, regarding the lawsuit filed by a citizens’ group to stop the governor from spending public funds on an integrated resort (IR) in the prefecture. The group registered its complaint back in September after audit request was dismissed.
Group Accuses Oishi of Improper Spending
The citizens’ group, “Stop the Casino Nagaski Prefectural Network“, accused the prefecture’s government led by governor Kengo Oishi (pictured) of signing a contract worth JPY110 million (US$737,399) with a law firm to review the development plans and the bidding process for the proposed complex. The group alleged the Oishi-led government of using public money improperly, which could lead to the dismissal of Nagasaki’s bid for the resort.
According to local media, the plaintiffs claimed that the prefecture’s plan for the IR funding was flawed. It was also said that the prefecture refrained from engaging in an upfront discussion and making a clear confirmation about the proposal. Countering the claims of the lobby group, the prefectural government’s legal representative insisted that there was nothing wrong with the funding deposit made by the governor.
The defense clarified that the payment was proper as there are tasks related to the assessment that are still pending. Previously, governor Oishi had mentioned some parties handing in commitment letters certifying their participation as funding arrangers in the proposal. The lawsuit accused the government of not making the documents public, despite its claims.
During the court hearing, the lobby group argued that it was unlikely for the national authorities to approve the plan as the letters sent by the Nagasaki prefecture might not qualify the approval criteria. The plaintiff added that since the documents won’t meet the standards, the scheme would be rejected, and there would be no requirement for the government to spend public funds anymore. The matter will be heard further in the next hearing scheduled in December.
Proposed Nagasaki IR To Cost Over $3 Billion
The estimated budget for the Nagasaki IR in Sasebo city is JPY438.3 billion (US$3.03 billion). The site for the resort complex is located adjacent to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park and the private sector partner for the prefecture is Casinos Austria International Japan Inc.