Osaka public opinion warming to Yumeshima IR development

A new public opinion poll by the Nihon Keizai Shinbun found that a plurality of Osakans now support the concept of building an IR at Yumeshima, which is an unprecedented result for a newspaper poll examining a major urban market in Japan.

The poll found 45 percent in favor of a Yumeshima IR bid and less than 42 percent opposed.

This encouraging news for IR advocates, however, comes at a critical moment when other developments are raising concerns.

One such concern is that a divided government could emerge in Osaka after the April 7 elections. While polls suggest that Hirofumi Yoshimura is leading in his race to become Osaka governor, Ichiro Matsui is facing a tougher fight to win office as Osaka mayor. Most polls are putting Matsui even with his Liberal Democratic Party challenger, Akira Yanagimoto.  

Another issue of concern is the rapidly escalating criticism that the current Yumeshima development plans are too expensive, and that the real costs to the public budget have been underestimated. It has pointed out, for example, that the early estimates for the cost of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were far lower than what ultimately proved to be the case.

Mayoral candidate Yanagimoto has been making this argument in his debates with Matsui, adding further credence to the notion that if the Liberal Democratic Party does return to power in Osaka, a much cooler policy toward IR development may be the result.