Ado Machida has been tapped to become the president of Hard Rock Japan. The choice is a fitting one as Machida has a long track record of serving large corporations as a lobbyist and is also a Republican Party activist. He has political ties to Tokyo and can be a strong supporter of Hard Rock’s efforts to win one of the expected three integrated resort (IR) licenses to be awarded by Japan.
Machida has served as the Chief Domestic Policy Officer for former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, and was also the Director of Policy Implementation for current president Donald Trump as he was transitioning to take the throne. Machida has also served time as a lobbyist for the U.S. defense industry.
According to Edward Tracy, Hard Rock Asia CEO, “With Machida’s Japanese fluency, his understanding of the Japanese culture and legal knowledge, along with his passion and experience in building bilateral business partnerships that focus on sustainable success, Ado has the leadership skill set that brings a key component to our team.”
Hard Rock isn’t the first casino operator to bank on political heavyweights to back their IR efforts in Japan. MGM hired Jason Hyland, a former U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, to be its president as it lobbies for a license and Caesars recruited two high-profile politicians—former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle—to lead its efforts.
Speaking of Japanese IRs, anyone expecting a resort to be built on Yumeshima Island can continue to hold his breath. Officials in Osaka have denied rumors that the island is prone to flooding and insist that it is the perfect spot for a resort.
Area residents would disagree. The man-made island saw some damage following Typhoon Jebi in September and the only bridge that connects the island to the Kansai International airport was closed after a tanker crashed into it during the storm.
Ichiro Matsui, the governor of Osaka, countered the arguments by pointing to the elevation of the island. He said, “The island of Yumeshima is higher above sea level than Kansai airport, so there is no problem. Yumeshima is nine meters above sea level, so there would be no flooding at all.”
After the bridge was temporarily closed, as many as 4,000 travelers were forced to spend the night in the airport until alternative travel could be arranged. This would be a logistical nightmare under any situation, but the addition of an integrated resort could potentially make the matter unmanageable.