Kitakyushu urged to make IR bid

Kitakyushu Mayor Kenji Kitahashi met with a group of investors from Hong Kong and the United States on Tuesday who are urging his city to join the IR race.

The investors, who are calling themselves “The Team IR Japan,” were led by Michael Soll, president of The Innovation Group, a US-based consultancy.

Mayor Kitahashi expressed interest in the IR proposals, but has not moved off of his fundamentally neutral stance at this point. He has been concerned that there isn’t enough time to enter the IR race, but the rather distant July 2021 final deadline announced this week might change his mind.

The main proposal involves building the IR directly next to Kokura Station’s north exit, a highly convenient location in the center of the city, walking distance from the Shinkansen. Certainly, there would be no question about the transportation infrastructure at this particular spot.