Yokohama mayor still sounds like an IR bid advocate

Since January 2017 Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has insisted that she is a “blank slate” on the issue an making an IR bid, but her actions and the logic of the few public statements that she makes continues to suggest that she remains the IR advocate that she had been up to the end of 2016.

The latest indication comes from her July 3 press conference. While acknowledging that the citizen briefings held in June once again revealed strong public doubts about an IR bid, she still insisted that public “understanding was deepened.” It’s not clear that there is actually any evidence to back her assertion.

Even more clear is her response to the anti-casino proposals of Yokohama Harbor Transport Association and the Yokohama Harbor Resort Association. While thanking them deeply for submitting their alternative development plans, she observed that “it would be difficult to operate the whole facility without a casino.”

This response is effectively a rejection of the core argument that has been advanced by Chairman Yukio Fujiki about his preferred development strategies for the Yamashita Pier site, and it strongly suggests that she is dismissing out of hand his alternative plan for a MICE facility without a casino.

Mayor Hayashi also declared that she would make the final decision herself and is not considering any democratic input from the residents of Yokohama, such as a referendum.

On the other hand, she also indicated that her decision on an IR bid wouldn’t be forthcoming anytime soon.