Yokohama officially withdrew from the IR bidding process, as Takeharu Yamanaka, the newly elected mayor with an anti-IR campaign, said he supports citizens who opposed the integrated resort project.
Genting Singapore, one of the two potential partners for the project, expressed surprise and disappointment at the decision.
“The board of directors and management of the company, together with our consortium partners and supporting partners have devoted considerable time and our best efforts to prepare and submit a compelling bid and proposed a significant investment that will benefit the City of Yokohama and its community, and at the same time make Yokohama a world-class tourism destination,” said Genting.
With Yokohama dropping out of the race, there are only three cities still willing to bid for the IR licence: Wakayama, Nagasaki and Osaka.
Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura stated that Yokohama’s decision will not impact Osaka. “Regardless of the trend in Yokohama, I would like to proceed by achieving the world’s highest level of IR,” he said. “I don’t think the intention of Mayor Yamanaka will affect Osaka.”
MGM Resorts and Orix Corp are selected as the partner for the city’s IR and will submit their proposal to the national government. It’s predicted that Osaka’s IR might cost $9.1bn.
Nagasaki signed an IR development plan with Casinos Austria and Wakayama partnered with Clairvest. However, while Japan is set to give out up to three IR licences, it’s unclear if all of the remaining contenders will receive them.
The IR process has faced difficulties since the beginning, with partners and cities dropping out due to unclear selection rules or other concerns.