Two-thirds of Hokkaido residents oppose IR construction

As the prefecture heads toward the April 7 gubernatorial and prefectural assembly elections, a poll conducted by the Hokkaido Shinbun found that 66 percent of local residents oppose the construction of an IR within the prefecture.

Those who polled as being strongly against the IR plans came to 39 percent, while those who strongly advocate the IR amounted to a mere 7 percent.

These numbers have hardly moved since the Hokkaido Shinbun’s previous poll conducted on the issue last October.

The April gubernatorial election will pit Tomohiro Ishikawa, with the united support of opposition parties, against Naomichi Suzuki, backed by the ruling coalition parties. Ishikawa has made clear his opposition to IR construction, while Suzuki has adopted an ambiguous position.

The outgoing governor and the Hokkaido Economic Federation have declared themselves in support of IR development.

More than half a dozen international operators have expressed interest in building an IR at Tomakomai, with several pronouncing it their top candidate location in Japan.