Yokohama IR bid stuck in neutral

Since her impressive victory a month ago in a hard-fought reelection effort, eyes have been focused on Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi, trying to forecast whether she will return to her IR advocacy of last year, or else back away from the proposal in light of the strongly negative public opinion in her city.

The answer that seems to be emerging is that Mayor Hayashi is now playing a waiting game, watching the political winds and in the meantime keeping her future options open.

In fact, this is what she herself stated fairly clearly on the evening of July 30, just as the voting results were recording her victory: “During the election campaign I heard voices of approval and voices of anxiety. I would like to conduct serious research from a neutral position while watching the movements of the country.”

A month later, she isn’t saying much more than that. Asked by a major newspaper in an interview published yesterday her views on hosting an IR, her response was, “I cannot yet fully explain the merits to the citizenry.”

Asia Gaming Brief asked Kazuyoshi Nagashima, who placed second among the three candidates in last month’s Yokohama mayoral race, about his interpretation of Mayor Hayashi’s latest comments.

He offered two insights. First, he believes Mayor Hayashi is waiting to see the comprehensive national policies on combating gambling addiction. Before committing herself, she wants to understand whether or not the national addiction countermeasures are credible and will meet with a degree of popular acceptance.

Secondly, Nagashima reckons that Mayor Hayashi will also wait until after the next general election to determine the trajectory of national policies on IRs.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can call a general election at his own discretion, but he must do so by December 2018 at the latest.

SHARE
Previous articleThe case against Japan IRs
Next articleMelco International Development revenue soars in 17H1

Related Articles

Hayashi IR

Yokohama mayor gives first nod to democracy

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has, for the very first time, acknowledged that the people of her city might actually have a voice in whether or not to build a major IR along the coastline.

Yokohama mayor says she would respect IR referendum result

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi stated for the first time that should the city be forced to hold a referendum on IR development and lose the vote, she would respect the people’s decision and withdraw the city’s candidacy.
Tokyo-Fuji-cityscape

Japan IRs have a new schedule

After spending most of this year in denial or else paralyzed by the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Japanese central government has finally made a credible decision about its IR development plans, which is to push back the timeline by nine months.

Yokohama seeks dialogue with operators on impact of pandemic

Recognizing that the Covid-19 pandemic may have exercised an important impact on IR development, Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has indicated that her municipal administration would seek a dialogue on this issue with interested IR operators. “The revitalization of tourism and the MICE industry is indispensable for the long-term advance of Yokohama’s economy,” Hayashi declared, “but […]

Yokohama anti-casino signature drives preparing to launch

The two major citizen group efforts to head off IR development plans in Yokohama are preparing to launch their signature drives, keeping the political pressure on even as national policy has stalled. Launching first, from September 4 until November 4, is the petition demanding a popular referendum over the city’s IR development plans. The aim […]

Yokohama mayor indefinitely delays IR development plans

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi stated at a press conference that her city would not be issuing its local IR implementation policy this month, as planned, and that the delay would be indefinite until the central government revealed its own directions. Hayashi did indicate, however, that her firm intention to build a major IR at Yamashita […]

October start for signature drive to recall pro-IR Yokohama mayor

A citizens group opposing the development of the Yokohama IR has affirmed that its signature drive to trigger a recall vote against Mayor Fumiko Hayashi will kick off in October. The organizers need to gather about 500,000 signatures in a two month period from the city’s population of about 3,760,000 people, regarded as a high […]

Yokohama mayor: local IR plans must wait on central government policy

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has acknowledged that her city’s implementation policies, originally scheduled for publication in June, must wait until after the central government finally issues its long overdue IR Basic Plan. She added that any prospect that her city could publish its implementation policies by the end of August had now dried up. “We […]

Yokohama mayor supports current IR development schedule

Although she regards the January to July 2021 application window for IR licensing to be “pretty strict,” Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi made clear that her municipality would not be requesting any policy change from the central government. “It’s not a good thing for the national schedule to change,” she remarked, “We are not requesting any […]

Public opposition to Yokohama IR appears to intensify

It has often been suggested that Japanese local communities will become more understanding of IR development projects once their nature is better explained, but public opinion polling in the city of Yokohama seems to be showing the opposite trend. According to exit polls at the time of the July 2017 mayoral elections, three years ago, […]