Osaka launches RFC process and provides IR development timeline

New Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has wasted little time in launching his prefecture’s RFC process and has provided an anticipated timeline for the development of the Yumeshima IR.

The Osaka government will begin accepting concept plans immediately with a closing date for registration on May 24. This will be followed by an August deadline for the submission of the RFC paperwork, and then a couple of months of discussions between the local government and the interested operators.

Operators are instructed to provide their basic concepts for the IR core facilities, non-core facilities, disaster management, gambling addiction countermeasures, public security policies, and much more. The area to be made available at Yumeshima for the IR will be 49 hectares.

The selected operator will be expected to bear an expense of JPY20.2 billion (about $182 million) as its part in subsidizing the extension of the Osaka Metro Chuo Line to Yumeshima. This amounts to about 40 percent of the total estimated cost of the railway extension.

The Osaka government is launching the process now so as to deepen discussions with interested IR operators and to be able to act rapidly on the next step—the RFP process—once all of the national regulations have been determined. This might come by around October.

In this connection, Shinichi Minamino—a former Osaka police official and now dean of Kinki University’s faculty of law—has been appointed to the local government’s IR Promotion Bureau as “security measures supervisor” in order to insure the fairness of the IR operator selection process.

Looking ahead, Osaka expects that it will select its IR operator partner sometime after April 2020 and then apply to the central government for one of the three available IR licenses. If that all goes well, then the specified land at Yumeshima may be turned over to the operator partner around April 2022, with the aim of opening to the public sometime in 2024.