Nagasaki IR bid face yellow light

Nagasaki has long seemed to be one step ahead of other RI candidate regions in Japan, but over time there are growing complaints that funding and consortium membership remain unclear.

In August 2021, Casinos Austria International Japan (CAIJ) was selected by Nagasaki Prefecture as a potential IR operator. Problems in the selection process were reported by unsuccessful operators, but the prefecture pursued and signed a basic agreement with the CAIJ this month.

The prefecture intends to bid for the development of an IR at Huis Ten Bosch with an estimated commercial scale of JPY 350 billion (USD 3.04 billion) and an annual visitor count of 8.4 million.

Nagasaki was the first of three candidate cities to release its draft regional development plan and is in the process of accepting public comments which began on the 21st of last month and will last until the 17th of this month. Nagasaki Prefecture plans to integrate these opinions into its regional development plan. All of these facts put Nagasaki one step ahead of other local governments that are targeting offers.

However, there are complaints of a lack of transparency regarding issues such as how the operator will raise capital and which companies will be the main operating body.

CAIJ President Akio Hayashi said, “We cannot reveal the names of the companies until the Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly in March 2022. [due to sensitive information of participating companies]. “

At this point, it has been reported that luxury hotel brand Hyatt as well as Austrian 5-star hotel Sacher are planning to participate, while Kadokawa affiliate Dwango is expressing interest in operating the IR facilities. Red Bull and Swarovski, who are based in Austria, have also made it clear that they want to be part of the project. However, nothing was revealed about the main members of the consortium for Nagasaki, unlike the preview of the draft Osaka Regional Development Plan released on December 21, 2021.

When it comes to sourcing capital, someone involved in the project would only say AGI, “We are increasing the degree of certainty. It is not clear whether this was a suggestion that funding is still pending or not, but clarifying these two points (consortium members and funding sourcing) would catapult Nagasaki’s IR bid into before.

The impending election of the governor of Nagasaki in February cannot be ignored either. Outgoing President Hodo Nakamura held his last prefectural assembly on December 21, 2021, where he said: “It is my duty to do everything possible to address the remaining issues, bringing the seeds that I have planted to bud and bloom, then bringing the fruits back to the people of Nagasaki, ”indicating that he will be a candidate for re-election.

Although Nagasaki is politically stable, if an anti-IR candidate succeeds in winning this election, there is still a possibility that the whole process will be abandoned as it was in Yokohama.

Nagasaki Prefecture and CAIJ continue to refine the draft regional development plan aimed at approval and submission to the prefectural assembly before the April 28 deadline.

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