As the dust settles from the two rounds of the Unified Local Elections, the results that have emerged represent the best-case scenario for IR development, with conservatives in control of all of the key offices and legislative bodies.
In the crucial Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly elections on April 7, the Liberal Democratic Party won 51 seats, giving the ruling party a narrow majority in the chamber for the first time in 36 years. Candidates associated with firmly anti-casino political parties secured a total of 27 seats. This is likely to greatly facilitate a decision by incoming Governor Naomichi Suzuki to endorse an IR bid.
Similarly, the Tomakomai City Council elections on April 21 appear to have resulted in a strengthened majority in favor of IR development.
While the new governor has not yet declared his own intentions, the results of these local elections suggest that—together with the backing of much of the prefecture’s business community—a policy of seeking an IR would now effectively be pushing against an open door.