Nagasaki resort plan rejected by Japan’s government

Japan’s government rejects Nagasaki’s casino resort plan over funding concerns. Osaka leads in the integrated resort development.

In a significant development, the central government of Japan announced on Wednesday that it has opted not to approve Nagasaki Prefecture’s proposal for an integrated resort (IR), which included plans for a casino. The decision was driven by concerns about the feasibility of securing substantial funds required for the ambitious project, leading to a setback for Nagasaki’s ambitions in the IR sector.

The proposed IR was meant to be developed at Huis Ten Bosch, a resort in Sasebo within Nagasaki Prefecture, with an anticipated opening date in 2027. Last year in April, the prefecture submitted a comprehensive development plan to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Ministry of Japan.

The plan outlined an initial investment of ¥438.3 billion, with 60% of the funding to be sourced through loans from financial institutions. However, financial uncertainties arose when Swiss financial giant Credit Suisse, involved in the fundraising for the project, faced a collapse.

The Ministry’s screening committee, comprising experts in tourism and economics, raised concerns over significant changes in the lineup of investors. They emphasized that documents ensuring investments or financing were not adequately prepared, prompting doubts over the project’s funding viability.

The committee recommended to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism not to approve the plan due to these funding uncertainties. Furthermore, it noted that investors in the project lacked sufficient records of operating integrated resorts, a key consideration in evaluating the proposal.

The committee also highlighted inadequacies in measures addressing common concerns associated with casinos, such as gambling addiction and illegal activities. These shortcomings in addressing societal concerns played a pivotal role in the decision to reject the Nagasaki IR plan.

As a result of this decision, for the time being, the development of an integrated resort in Japan will proceed solely under the sponsorship of the Osaka prefectural government. The central government’s decision to reject Nagasaki Prefecture’s integrated resort plan reflects the intricate challenges and stringent scrutiny surrounding the establishment of such ventures in Japan.

As Osaka takes the lead in pursuing an integrated resort, this development underscores the delicate balance Japan seeks between economic ambitions and ensuring rigorous adherence to regulatory standards. The rejection signals the importance of a thorough approach in navigating the complexities associated with integrated resorts, emphasizing the need for transparency and robust planning to realize these ambitious projects successfully.