Anti-casino candidate defeated in Hokkaido gubernatorial race

Conservative Naomichi Suzuki defeated opposition-backed Tomohiro Ishikawa in the Hokkaido gubernatorial race, keeping open the prospect that Tomakomai city might be allowed to make an IR bid.

While Ishikawa had staked out a clear-cut position opposing an IR bid, Suzuki, now the governor-elect, remained vague about his intentions.

On Sunday, elections were also held for the Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly, which will also need to endorse any IR bid. The previous assembly was very skeptical about a bid, and its not yet clear that the new assembly will be any more enthusiastic about the prospect.

What can be said at this point is that the possibility the Hokkaido prefectural government will back Tomakomai’s IR bid remains intact, which would not have been the case had the gubernatorial race gone the other way.

More than half a dozen IR operators have expressed interest in the Tomakomai site, and several have already opened offices in the city.