Sunday, August 14, 2022

Kitahiroshima city government divided on IR bid


In the nearly six months since the Heiwa Corporation first submitted its plan to build an IR in Kitahiroshima city, Hokkaido, the municipal authorities have yet to give a clear answer, and are said to be divided over the matter.

Heiwa, a major privately-owned manufacturer of pachinko and pachislot machines, called last December for an IR to be built upon the existing Sapporo Kitahiroshima Golf Club (a 2.8 million square meter site), which would feature the addition of an exhibition hall that could accommodate 5,000 people, a five-star 2000-room hotel, Asia’s largest land art museum, an outdoor theater, hot springs, and facilities for skiing and snowboarding. Heiwa envisions forming a consortium with an international IR operator and local businesses with a combined initial investment of close to US$2 billion, and ultimately employing almost 20,000 people.

The plan was hand-delivered by Heiwa Corporation President Katsuya Minei to Kitahiroshima Mayor Masami Ueno, but so far no official answer has been forthcoming, in spite of considerable activity by some other municipalities in Hokkaido.

A company official at Heiwa tells AGB that part of the reason for the lack of response is that the Kitahiroshima City Council is said to be more-or-less evenly divided among its members in regard making an IR bid.

As recently as two weeks ago, Minei publicly encouraged the city officials to wrap up their long period of indecision and to actively support the IR bid. He wants them to do so before the enactment of the IR Implementation Bill, which will probably occur in early July.

With the rival bids within Hokkaido Prefecture of Tomakomai city and Rusutsu village having gained greater momentum, the time remaining for Kitahiroshima city to act is quickly disappearing.

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