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Hokkaido wraps up IR Experts’ Committee

The Hokkaido IR Experts’ Committee held its fourth and final meeting on Monday, producing no surprises but once again declaring that Tomakomai city should be the preferred IR host community from within the prefecture.

The Hokkaido Experts’ Committee consisted of nine members with specializations in areas such as tourism, regional development, and gambling addiction countermeasures. The chairman was Shuji Koiso, a former president of Kushiro Public University of Economics.

Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi established the committee last July when she began to recognize how strong the opposition was to an IR bid at the level of the prefectural assembly.

However, as the committee comes to an end it has lost most of its purpose. Takahashi is stepping down as governor in July and will not be making any decisions about an IR bid. Whether to move forward or not will be a decision for her successor.

At present, neither the ruling party nor the opposition candidates for governor have yet been selected, although that will likely come very soon.

At any rate, the prefectural government is going through the motions by holding public explanation meetings about its IR policy in seven different cities—Sapporo, Kushiro, Tomakomai, Hakodate, Asahikawa, Obihiro, and Abashiri.

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