Makinohara moving forward with IR plans

Makinohara city has recently become one of the most proactive local governments in preparing the ground for an IR bid, with the latest initiative being a lecture series about IRs aimed at skeptical local residents.

The first of the two “IR Citizens’ Explanation Meetings” was held last week before an audience of over one hundred local residents. Mayor Kikuo Sugimoto made his appeal (noting that he had already gained the consent of the landowners near the Oyori area where the facility would be built), as did members of the “Shizuoka Makinohara IR Bid Promotion Committee,” which includes local business leaders and a former city mayor.

The keynote speaker was Kazuhiko Niki, a partner at Deloitte Tohmatsu.

The same event is scheduled to be held at a different location within the city on April 15.

Meanwhile, the Shizuoka Makinohara IR Bid Promotion Committee has established a new webpage outlining their arguments in favor of an IR. Mainly, these relate to an effort to overcome the depopulation of the city, with young people especially moving to major urban areas like Tokyo. They argue that an IR will revitalize the local community and bring substantial employment opportunities.

On the other hand, anti-casino forces in the prefecture are also beginning to mobilize. For example, the Shizuoka Prefectural Association of Medical and Dental Practitioners has issued a public statement to Governor Heita Kawakatsu urging him to reject an IR bid from the prefecture.

“As medical practitioners whose duty it is to protect the health of our prefectural citizens, it is impossible for us to overlook a casino concept that would create gambling addiction in our region. We call upon the people to unite in opposition against a bid for this kind of gambling facility,” they wrote in the appeal.

This statement referenced the plan to build an IR within Shizuoka city, as proposed by a mayoral candidate in that city, but it would apply equally well to a Makinohara city bid, which also lay within Shizuoka Prefecture.