Yoshinobu Nisaka defeated his anti-casino opponent Masayoshi Hatanaka to win a fourth term as Governor of Wakayama Prefecture, thus clearing the political path for an IR bid.
Governor Nisaka’s victory follows that of pro-IR Wakayama Mayor Masahiro Obana in late July, also over an opponent who tried to rally local opposition against casinos.
Rather than run away from or downplay his support for building an IR in the prefecture—as many other Japanese politicians have done at election time—Nisaka tackled the issue head-on and made clear that he intended to push forward with an IR bid.
One remaining challenge for Nisaka, however, is to get Mayor Obana to publicly accept that the casino at the prospective Marina City IR would be open to Japanese residents as well as to foreign tourists. In a May interview with Asia Gaming Brief, Nisaka expressed confidence that he could bring Obana around to his position on this matter.