GGRAsia – Antis say enough signatures for Wakayama IR referendum

Antis say enough signatures for Wakayama IR referendum

An anti-casino community group in the Japanese city of Wakayama (pictured) claims they have enough signatures of local voters’ petitions to have the right to ask the government for a referendum motion on whether the city should aim to host a casino.

The group said as of Tuesday it had more than 8,000 signatures, surpassing the 2% threshold of Wakayama city voters required to apply for a referendum motion to the local government.

The group would like to formulate such a motion in such a way that local voters are asked to choose whether they are for or against the creation of a casino complex in Wakayama.

The community group hopes that by the end of the signature collection – the process started on November 6 and is expected to end on December 5 – it will have gathered the support of 20,000 people.

The 2 percent qualifying threshold is equivalent to about 6,200 municipal voters, according to information gathered by the GGRAsia correspondent in Japan.

The community group said its main objection to an IR was uncertainty over Clairvest Neem Ventures KK, a private consortium that was to lead Wakayama’s inclination to host a casino complex.

Clairvest Neem Ventures is the winning consortium of an RFP for the proposed establishment in Wakayama of a casino complex with tourist facilities – known in Japan as an Integrated Complex (IR).

The prefectural government of Wakayama decided on November 19 report a public consultation process on a draft IR District Development Plan, pending clarification from Clairvest Neem Ventures on issues related to funding and the structure of the consortium.

As part of Japan’s liberalization program for casino operations, up to three resorts will be licensed nationwide. Currently, only two other local communities outside of Wakayama, namely Ossaka and Nagasaki – are in the running to host an integrated station.

Japanese government open on October 1st the application period for local authorities to present themselves as host to a casino complex, and announced the weighting it will give when scoring such requests. The deadline for submitting applications is April 28, 2022.

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