Nagoya mayor rebuked for proposing IR in neighboring prefecture

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura came under criticism this week for suggesting that the Nagoya IR might actually be located in neighboring Kawana city, which also happens to be in neighboring Mie Prefecture.

At a press conference on Monday, Mayor Kawamura discussed his notion of an IR bid at some length. As one of the major obstacles to Nagoya’s IR bid is that there is little or no available land, the question of a potential location is a central concern. In this context, Kawamura proposed three possibilities, including Nagashima Spa Land, a major amusement park along Ise Bay, but which unfortunately is within neither Nagoya, the city limits nor even within Aichi Prefecture.

“About 15 million people are already visiting Nagashima Spa Land annually,” Kawamura observed, “Since the IR industry people say they will build facilities to which 20 or 30 million people will come, we could probably then expect over 30 million annual visitors. It could be on par with Tokyo Disneyland. If there is such a possibility, we should explore it for the sake of our citizens.”

Aichi Governor Hideaki Omura—a frequent critic of Mayor Kawamura who has his own rival plan to make an IR bid from Tokoname city—did not attempt to disguise his contempt: “How can one just speak so arbitrarily about someone else’s city and someone else’s prefecture?” Omura added, “He seems to have created great confusion.”

Mie Governor Eikei Suzuki weighed in, declaring, “We were surprised to be cited as a candidate… Our prefecture has not taken an active stance toward making such a bid.”

Kawana Mayor Narutaka Ito was somewhat less dismissive, “I was surprised by his comments. I hadn’t even thought about an IR bid, but from now I would like to conduct research, including an examination of its economic effects on the area.”

Mayor Kawamura is also investigating potential IR locations in the Nagoya city center and at Nagoya port.