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Dentsu, Japan’s advertising giant, is looking to expand far beyond its traditional fields of business and to become a direct, major player in the management of IRs.

In early September, MGM Resorts International CEO James Murren emphasized in a public presentation that his company was looking for a “Japanese-led” IR consortium in a major urban market. He wasn’t specific about what he meant in practical terms, but clearly MGM envisages its Japanese partners playing a major, perhaps a predominant role in a future IR.

While the Osaka government remains the most proactive local administration in seeking an IR, it remains the case that a large majority of the general public there opposes the establishment of casinos in the local area.

Toru Mihara, a key member of the Experts’ Committee that compiled the report upon which Japan’s IR Implementation Bill will be based, vigorously defended the report against accusations that the regulations it imposes are too strict toward businesses.

Two senior politicians representing the pro-IR lawmakers’ league have offered assurances to international operators and businessmen that the IR Implementation Bill would move forward as soon as possible.

Former head of the Japan Tourism Agency Norifumi Ide gave a wide-ranging presentation at Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel last Friday to dozens of businessmen representing both international casino operators as well as interested domestic enterprises.

In July a new organization called the Resourceful Center of Problem Gambling (RCPG) opened in Tokyo with the intention of strengthening the nation’s infrastructure to deal with this social scourge.

Malta-based Catena Media announced yesterday that they had acquired a Japanese affiliate at a purchase price of approximately US$5.5 million.

Genting Singapore on Wednesday announced the establishment of a new branch office in Tokyo, Japan.

Members of the Abe government and the ruling party confirmed to the Japanese media that no progress would be made on passing either the gambling addiction bill nor the IR Implementation Bill until next spring.