Support for Nagasaki IR grows as new leadership group formed


Even though Japan is not currently dedicating a lot of time to its plans to introduce integrated resorts (IR) to the country, the project is still moving forward on both national and regional levels. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has confirmed that there will eventually be movement, and local governments are still trying to drum up support from locals to be able to submit a bid. The Nagasaki prefecture is one location that has been mentioned as a possible target for one of the first three IRs expected to be approved, and it is getting some additional support from local leaders, who have formed the Kyushu IR Promotion Council while the area continues to sculpt how an IR industry might appear.

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Kyushu is Japan’s third-largest island and is home to seven prefectures – including Nagasaki. The prefectures’ governors are part of the Kyushu Governors’ Association (KGA), which decided, as did the Kyushu Regional Strategy Council (KRSC), to create the new IR-supporting group. The goal of the new entity will be to ensure that local economies and businesses will be able to benefit from the development of an IR, should the region be approved to host one of the properties.

A statement about the creation of the new group explains that it expects to “create business opportunities and promote local procurement by building business networking strategies” and that it will include individuals who will represent “economic organizations, local government and councils of Nagasaki prefecture and the Kyushu region.” Ultimately, if selected, Nagasaki has earmarked a 76.6-acre site close to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park to host the IR, allowing the area to become a hotbed for global tourism of all types and ages. 

The KGA is composed of the governors of Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki Oita and Saga, as well as the governors of the Yamaguchi prefecture on Honshu Island and of Okinawa. The KRSC is a group that includes representatives from business activities in the region, working with the governors to improve its commercial activity. Both groups have acknowledged support for an IR in the area previously, and the KGA has repeatedly endorsed Nagasaki as one of the prime locations in the country to host an IR. 

Japan had hoped to have the IR process well underway by now, but has had to deal with certain setbacks brought on by COVID-19 and an embarrassing bribery scandal. Still, and in spite of localized resistance, the national government doesn’t plan on dropping the project and is moving toward an official start in October of next year. At that time, it hopes to start to accept proposals from governments interested in hosting a casino, with all applications having to be submitted by April 28 the following year.