Wakayama backing off foreigner only IR plan

Signs are emerging that pro-IR forces in Wakayama Prefecture are now backing off their previous notion that casino entry might be limited to foreigners, as they had earlier proposed as an important measure for easing local acceptance to the concept of establishing an IR at the Marina City location.

Inviting an IR has long had top-level political support from the prefectural governor and the local mayor, but has been viewed with deep skepticism by many local residents. The Wakayama IR Promotion Council was thus established on September 29 with the objective of gaining a greater degree of understanding from the locals.

Ichiro Takase, the senior prefectural planning department bureaucrat, was installed as chairman, and the membership of the new promotion council consists of thirteen organizations, including the prefectural and city governments, the Wakayama Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kiyo Bank, Okuwa Co., Asakawagumi Co., and JA Wakayama.

Participants in the meeting put emphasis on attracting a high quality development as opposed to an enormity of scale. Takase expressed his view that, “If we unite our leaders of government, industry, and academia, then we certainly will not fail to win the invitation race for an IR.”

Comments were also made about avoiding “excessive regulation” of the casino element, including the notion that only foreigners should be allowed entry.