Osaka lawmakers are willing to do anything to ensure the prefecture and city are chosen for an integrated resort (IR) in the country. There have already been a number of strategic moves designed to help strengthen its position but a recent game of musical chairs could be the most novel approach yet.
The former Osaka City mayor is now the Osaka prefecture governor and the former Osaka governor is now the Osaka City mayor. Both politicians were closing in on the end of their terms and resigned last month in order to run for the other’s position. The move paid off, as voters overwhelming showed their support at the polls.
Former Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura is now the governor of the Osaka prefecture, and former Governor Ichiro Matsui is now the mayor of Osaka City. Both have been strongly supportive of an IR in Osaka, especially given the city’s fame is the host of the 2025 World’s Fair. That event is expected to attract as many as 28 million tourists and, if an IR is ready on time, Osaka is set to receive a major economic windfall.
The legislative musical chairs isn’t just about the IR. The Osaka Ishin political party, with which both politicians are affiliated, has sought to merge the 24 wards in Osaka into one entity in an effort to cut costs and promote growth. The party believes that Yoshimura and Matsui will be able to help continue that battle, which was defeated in a public referendum last year.
Osaka is one of the three principle locations expected to be chosen for an IR but another contender is making progress, as well. Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture in the country, has wrapped up its gubernatorial elections and the results are in. Naomichi Suzuki, who was previously the mayor of Yubari, won against Tomohiro Ishikawa and is now the governor of Hokkaido. The young politician has remained more neutral on the subject of gambling in the country, stating recently “I will take into consideration all of the advantages and disadvantages to make the decision.” On the other hand, Ishikawa has long been opposed to anything gambling-related.