Miyazaki drops out of IR race

The shape of the IR Implementation Bill has claimed its first victim as Miyazaki Governor Shunji Kono has concluded that there is no point in his sparsely-populated prefecture attempting to join the IR hunt.

In his regular press conference on Tuesday, Governor Kono cited two reasons for giving up the notion of hosting an IR. First of all, with only three municipalities to be selected nationally, it would be unlikely that his remote prefecture would win one of these licenses.

The bigger reason cited by Governor Kono is that he understands the national government has designed the legislation to favor the major urban markets: “The sort of IR foreseen by the bill is considerably large in scale, which is beyond the scope of what our prefecture could do.”

Governor Kono did not rule out the possibility that Miyazaki might reconsider its stance in future years. He does not object to the basic concept of hosting an IR in the prefecture, but judges that the terms of the legislation do not match the local requirements. This was the first occasion upon which Governor Kono made explicit his thoughts on hosting an IR public.

Last November, Sega Sammy Holdings gave the governor a 90-minute tour of its Paradise City IR in Incheon, South Korea. Sega Sammy is owner of the Phoenix Seagaia Resort in Miyazaki city, and appeared to be lobbying Kono to support the development of an IR at that location.

Hajime Satomi, president of Sega Sammy Holdings, has been repeating since at least 2012 that he expected IRs to become the future “mainstay business” of his firm.

Contacted by Asia Gaming Brief, a spokesperson for Sega Sammy Holdings refrained from making any direct comments about Governor Kono’s declaration, but also added, “We think that the consensus of local residents should be reflected in the future vision of municipalities for their development and revitalization. The introduction of IRs should be one part of the discussion. We will maintain our efforts to enter the IR business in Japan.”