Japan IR application period announced, Kitakyushu City enters the mix

Japan IR application period announced, Kitakyushu City enters the mix

The competition for the three Japanese integrated resort (IR) licenses has been running for years now, but there’s been plenty of wait and see as cities and operators waited for the formal process to be rolled out. That’s happening now, as the Asahi Simbum reports the formal IR application process has been outlined.

Japan IR application period announced, Kitakyushu City enters the mixFrom January 4 to January 30, 2021, the Japanese government will be accepting IR certification applications. This gives cities and prefectures more than a year to prepare for the process.

The next step will be a public comment period starting on December 18 of this year, with an expected final cabinet decision around the application period and certification standards.

The four jurisdictions to officially announce their intention to apply for an IR before this announcement were Yokohama City, the Osaka Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture, and Nagasaki Prefecture. Inside Asia Gaming speculates that as the application period will happen after the Tokyo 2020 olympics, Japan’s largest city may choose to enter the race as well.

Also joining the race may be Kitakyushu City. An unnamed Hong Kong operator has courted mayor Jenji Kitahashi, who said “I will properly consider and study this as much as is possible.”

Reports indicate that a Kitakyushu City resort, located on the southern land mass of Kyushu, would likely cost JPY600 billion ($5.53 billion), and could generate JPY250 billion yearly in revenue ($2.31 billion) and JPY75 billion ($690 million) in taxes for the government.

Kitahashi admitted that he’s just honored an operator would want to locate in his city, but can’t say yes just yet. “I am frankly very happy that Kitakyushu city has been considered from so many cities and we will consider the specific concept. I want to study it properly.”

Osaka, which may be the city most aggressive about its hopes to win an IR, recently revealed the 7 operators that filed in the RFC process to locate there, with six expected to have serious bids on the way. Floyd Mayweather is also rumored to want to submit his own bid in Okinawa.