Yokohama tug-of-war over IR bid

The Yokohama Chamber of Commerce & Industry presented its annual list of requests to Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi on Tuesday which renewed their call for building an IR at Yamashita Pier. The document described such an IR as being “indispensable for the future development of Yokohama’s economy.”

In a press conference the same day, Mayor Hayashi was asked once again her position on building an IR. Her response was, “It’s important to have a cautious debate. This is not the stage at which a decision can be made.”

However, the following day an anti-casino group called Kanagawa Citizen Ombudsman raised the first suggestion of legal action in the event the city government chooses to make an IR bid. They pointed out that 74 percent of the proposed Yamashita Pier location is owned by the city, and that local residents must be audited before such public land be turned over for use by a casino operator.

Lawyer Takashi Okawa told a press conference, “Inviting an IR is choice we must not make. If our demand is rejected, it may lead to a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens.”

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