Osaka unveils draft plan for casino resort development

OSAKA (Jiji Press) — The Osaka prefectural and municipal governments unveiled Tuesday a draft plan to develop an integrated resort featuring a casino for an opening sometime between autumn and winter of fiscal 2029.

According to the plan, the resort will be built on the artificial island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay and chiefly operated by the team of U.S. casino giant MGM Resorts International and Japan’s Orix Corp. It will be operated for 35 years, but the operation period can be extended.

The team will be required to initially invest some ¥1.8 trillion.

The casino resort is estimated to attract 20 million visitors a year, with 14 million domestic visitors and 6 million visitors from abroad. Its annual economic impact is projected at ¥1.14 trillion.

The draft plan also says the city government, which owns Yumeshima, will spend some ¥79 billion from its special account to decontaminate soil on the construction site, where excessive levels of contaminants such as arsenic were found. The prefectural and municipal governments will submit their development plan to the central government by April next year after obtaining approval by their assemblies.

The city government’s planned massive expenditure on the soil, however, is expected to face severe protests during assembly deliberations, pundits said. The draft plan provides no detailed explanations on how the soil cleanup costs were calculated.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura told reporters at the city hall that fiscal 2029 was set as a realistic opening target through talks with the operators in view of the coronavirus situation.