Osaka public opinion still against Yumeshima IR

The prospect of building a major urban IR at Yumeshima has broad and enthusiastic support at the levels of the Osaka prefectural and city government and the big business community, but the latest poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun demonstrates that the local public remains hostile to the project by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.

The poll found that while there is reasonably strong support for Osaka’s bid for the 2025 World Expo, that local public opinion turns decidedly negative when the question turns to an IR on Yumeshima—30 percent of respondents say they approve of the idea and 57 percent say that they oppose it.

A similar poll conducted by the Yomiuri last year found 33% in support and 52% against, suggesting that, if anything, the general public is gradually turning more negative on the local government’s IR plans.

However, such polling is not expected to change the policies of the Osaka government leaders, who remain strong advocates of building the IR as soon as possible. On Wednesday, Governor Ichiro Matsui reaffirmed the importance of the project in an interview with local newspapers.

Matsui also emphasized that the local business community must be involved in IR construction and in the ultimate Yumeshima consortium: “If it were run only by foreign IR operators,” Governor Matsui observed, “they would run into the wall of contrasting culture and customs.”

Both Osaka Governor Matsui and his younger party colleague Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura have just crossed the mid-point in their four-year terms. They are currently scheduled to face reelection around November 2019.