Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Nagasaki Begins Hearing Case on Public Funds for IR Plan

In April, the Japanese prefectures of Nagasaki and Osaka expressed their wish to build two integrated resorts (IR) by officially submitting their IR development proposals to the national government. Some representatives of the local communities were not very pleased when hearing about the proposals. In June, a series of anti-gambling civil groups started to challenge the building plans. In September, one of the groups decided to file a complaint, accusing Nagasaki’s government of signing a contract that would review the prefecture’s IR Area Development Plan. The review was part of the bid process for the respective casino resort. The group, however, accused the government of using public funds improperly to pay for the contract. The first hearing took place this week. 

The Nagasaki District Court Began the Hearing 

“Stop the Casino Nagasaki Prefectural Network“ is the name of the group representing the eight individuals who filed the claim against the prefectural government ruled by governor Kengo Oishi. Oishi had agreed to sign a contract amounting to approximately JPY110 million ($737,399) with a law firm and several additional advisors. The contract was aimed at reviewing the necessary work toward the bidding process for the resort, as well as the Area Development Plan for the IR. 

According to the lobbyists, the respective money represents an improper use of public funds, in the context of the application for the IR being less likely to receive approval from the central government. The group called the proposed fundraising plan “a major problem.” They further suggested that the prefecture had never actually received a “proper confirmation” for the building plans. On the other hand, representatives of Nagasaki’s government claimed that the said payment was in fact a “proper” one since “certain works” connected to the review of the proposal needed to be completed.

No Supporting Documents

During the same hearing, governor Oishi stated that some parties handed “commitment letters” to the local prefecture in relation to funding arrangeres for the IR scheme. Nonetheless, no supporting documents were presented in court on Tuesday. 

The Next Gearing Is Scheduled for December

During the same hearing, the plaintiffs argued the prefecture would not have to spend any more public money on reviewing the IR project given the slim chances of it receiving the green light.

Nagasaki’s partner representing the private sector on the IR building plan is Casinos Austria International Japan Inc. The upcoming court session has been scheduled for December. If approved, the IR would rise in Sasebo City, on the land located next to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park. The anticipated costs would reach JPY438.3 billion ($2,928 billion). 

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