Closer examination of the IR Basic Plan draft issued on Wednesday finds that the degree of popular support won within the host community will be a criterion for choosing which of three IR bids will be selected for licensing. This is the first time that public opinion has been identified by the government as a relevant factor in the IR licensing process.
According to the draft document, “building positive relationships with the local region” will be a factor in the central government’s licensing decisions.
Such a criterion is thought to work to the advantage of local governments such as Nagasaki and Osaka where public opinion is more accepting of an IR bid after years of campaigning by the local authorities.
It may also be a negative factor for local governments such as Yokohama, where almost all polls have shown strong local opposition to an IR bid, and where anti-casino forces are likely to put up fierce and bruising political resistance.
Naturally, this is only one of the criteria that will be used to decide the three winners, but its inclusion was not anticipated.