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Hokkaido governor will make IR bid decision year-end

Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki, who has been taking a go-slow approach on his decision whether or not to pursue an IR bid for the Tomakomai location, has now clearly indicated for the first time that he will hand down his verdict by the end of this year, not early next year as had been anticipated by most observers.

The governor explained, “If you look at the movement of the national government, from next year the full-fledged application process will begin.”

Suzuki has previously indicated that he will pay close attention to public opinion about the matter, and the prefectural government’s surveys and meetings with the people of the prefecture will supposedly be a key determinant.

Tomakomai Mayor Hirofumi Iwakura has been working hard to ensure that an IR bid will go forward, launching additional talks between the municipal government and the city residents.

Moreover, the mayor recently persuaded a two-member caucus within the city council to conditionally switch its stance from opposition to support of an IR bid, giving the proponents a clear majority for the first time. At present, then, in the 28-member chamber there are 16 IR bid supporters, 8 opponents, and 4 undecideds.

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