Nagasaki has made a major step forward in its plans to bid for an IR license by forming a trilateral agreement between the prefecture, city, and the Huis Ten Bosch theme park operator regarding the precise location for the proposed IR.
Announced at a press conference on Monday afternoon and featuring Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura, Sasebo Mayor Norio Tomonaga, and Huis Ten Bosch President Hideo Sawada, a thirty hectare site was identified which could be sold to an IR consortium in the event that the local bid is successful.
Sawada, however, has made clear that his company does not intend to join an IR consortium as a main player: “We will not participate as an operator. However, if we receive a request, we would consider the possibility of operating a few subsidiary facilities.” He also reiterated his doubts that an IR would have a sufficient return on investment.
The specified area includes what is currently called the “Harbor Zone”—including the current Hotel Europe and Forest Villa—and some of its undeveloped inland areas. It does not include the Rotterdam Parking Lot, which had been suggested as a possibility during the late 2017 RFI process.
Mayor Tomonaga stated, “We’ve been researching about IRs for more than a decade, so I want us to compete and win.”
With this move, Nagasaki has reasserted itself as a major candidate for an IR license, giving a more concrete shape to its proposal.