By AI ASANUMA/ Staff Writer
December 22, 2021 at 18:20 JST
Construction is under way in Yumeshima island in Osaka on Dec. 21. The integrated resort is scheduled to be constructed in the back end of the island. (Takaharu Yagi)
OSAKA--The Osaka prefectural and city governments on Dec. 21 announced a plan for developing a casino-centered integrated resort expected to open in 2029 that will be backed by 20 major companies.
Well-known firms such as Panasonic Corp., Suntory Holdings Ltd. and West Japan Railway Co. will invest in the project, according to the details announced.
The resort is planned to be built on the artificial Yumeshima island in Osaka Bay.
But the city will need to shoulder about 79 billion yen ($692 million) for soil-improvement measures, including site decontamination and control measures against soil liquefaction, according to the plan.
Both governments announced the basic project plan the same day.
They had initially aimed to open the resort before the 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo. But the plan was delayed significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They said the resort plan could suffer further delays of another one to three years, depending on how the pandemic plays out, along with the progress of improving the island’s land.
Yumeshima island was found to contain arsenic and fluorine underground in levels that exceed Japan’s safety limits. It also came out that the soil is liquefiable, which presents other safety concerns.
The Osaka city government, which owns the land, will earmark about 79 billion yen from a special account to take countermeasures.
The initial investment for the whole casino resort project totals 1.08 trillion yen.
Of that, 530 billion yen will be funded by the chosen business operators MGM Resorts International and Orix Corp. at about 40 percent each. The remaining 20 percent or so will be funded by the 20 other companies involved. The other 550 billion yen will be covered with funds borrowed by the resort project’s operating company.
About 20 million visitors are expected to come to the resort annually, of which 14 million would be domestic visitors, while 6 million would travel from abroad.
The economic ripple effect is expected to produce 1.14 trillion yen annually and create 93,000 new jobs.
The prefectural and city governments expect to receive 106 billion yen annually, comprised of 74 billion yen from casino profits and 32 billion yen from admission fees.
Part of the revenue will go toward measures against gambling addiction and setting up a police station on Yumeshima island.
The anti-gambling addiction measures include establishing an addiction treatment facility in Osaka.
Both governments will hold town hall meetings and public hearings for residents from January through February.
If both the prefectural and city assemblies approve the project plan, it will be submitted to the central government in April.
Companies to invest in the Osaka casino-centered integrated resort are as follows:
Major shareholders are MGM Resorts International and Orix Corp.
Minor shareholders are Iwatani Corp., Osaka Gas Co., Obayashi Corp., Kansai Electric Power Co., Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., Keihan Holdings Co., Suntory Holdings Ltd., JTB Corp., Daikin Industries Ltd., Taisei Corp., Daiwa House Industry Co., Takenaka Corp., Nankai Electric Railway Co., NTT West Corp., West Japan Railway Co., Nippon Express Co., Panasonic Corp., Maruichi Steel Tube Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Rengo Co.
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