Osaka IR Project Resolution Gets Majority Support from City Council

Osaka IR Project Resolution Gets Majority Support from City Council June 14, 2023 June 14, 2023 Doug Ramirez
 Industry June 14, 2023 by Doug Ramirez

New rendering of proposed MGM Resorts OsakaSummary:

  • Osaka City Council recently voted on a resolution to proceed with a proposed IR project
  • Most of the council members voted in favor, including the main bloc of the local LDP
  • Osaka’s IR plan was approved by the national government in April

A proposed integrated resort (IR) project in Osaka has received majority support from the city council, with some council members who were previously opposed to the plan now changing their stance following the outcome of April’s local election.

Resolution on IR Project Backed by Most Council Members

Osaka’s IR proposal was approved by the central government in April, garnering 657.9 points out of 1,000, which is slightly above the required 600 points. The evaluation of the project was coordinated by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the Japan Tourism Agency.

Leading party Osaka Innovation recently submitted to the city council a resolution to proceed with Osaka’s IR District Development Plan. Council members voted on the resolution on June 9 and the results show that most of the elected representatives are in favor of the IR proposal.

As expected, members of Osaka Innovation, known to be pro-IR, gave their support to the resolution, with Komeito also voting in favor. Interestingly, a main bloc of the local Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which was initially against the IR proposal, had a change of heart and now wants the project to materialize.

The resolution failed to get unanimous support from the council as representatives from the Japanese Communist Party and another faction of the local LDP voted against it.

Of the 81 current seats at the Osaka City Council, 46 are occupied by Osaka Innovation, while 18 and 11 belong to Komeito and the main bloc of the LDP, respectively. The other faction of the LDP has four seats, while the Communist Party has two.

Main Bloc of Local LDP Switches Stance

With the main bloc of the local LDP now supporting Osaka’s IR proposal, its stance is now aligned with the national LDP which has been pushing for the legalization of casinos in Japan.

Regulations paving the way for the development of casino resorts in the country were approved in 2019 by Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister. The late Japanese leader, who was assassinated in July 2022, led the LDP for several years.

US-based casino operator MGM Resorts International is partnering with Japanese firm Orix Corp to develop a US$10 billion casino resort on the man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay. It was announced in May that a draft implementation agreement for the IR project will be finalized by Osaka and the MGM-Orix consortium by September.

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