Osaka fast-tracks Yumeshima environmental impact assessment

    Understanding that a seamless permits process is crucial to hopes of opening an IR before the 2025 World Expo, the Osaka prefectural and city governments are taking an unusual measure to expedite the required Yumeshima environmental impact assessment.

    Specifically, the local government has decided to launch the environmental impact assessment on its own, before an IR operator has been chosen.

    This survey, expected to cost about JPY72 million (about $686,000), would under normal procedure be commissioned by a private company applying to develop a piece of land. To speed up the process, however, the local government will pay for the assessment itself and then bill the eventual IR operator later.

    One specific concern, raised by the local environmental group Nature Osaka, is that an endangered seabird species called a Little Tern may be using Yumeshima as its breeding grounds.