Rusutsu Mayor Tsunehachi Baya announced to the village council on Monday that he was freezing efforts to attract an IR, citing the 500 Dot Com bribery scandal as the key reason.
Baya explained that the bribery scandal had badly damaged the image of IRs and that local residents were unlikely to support an initiative that might be associated with crime and corruption.
Rusutsu had launched his IR campaign in 2014, and at one point 500 Dot Com was the lead operator candidate for the village.
The bribery scandal, however, was not only a national issue, but also a local one, as it also led to criminal charges being laid against Kamori Kanko Chairman Kimihito Kamori, one of the most important people in the community.
Rusutsu’s prospects for success, however, were always very slim as it had to compete against the larger market of Tomakomai, which was favored by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government. Also, Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki’s decision not to move forward with an IR bid, based on weak political support generally, impacted Rusutsu as it did Tomakomai.