Japan’s Central Government Validates Revised Osaka IR District Development Plan

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The implementation agreement for the construction of Osaka’s first integrated resort (IR), created by a consortium of MGM Resorts and Osaka Prefecture, has been officially validated by Japan’s central government. Additionally, this contract clears the way for a formal contract, which is expected to be officially signed during the month.

Approval:

The official validation was revealed on September 22 by Tetsuo Saito, who holds the role of Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, following the handing over of the revised contract that took place on September 8 to the national government. This contract moves back the initially planned opening date by a year, which means that instead of 2029, the IR will have a grand opening in 2030, and raise the projected original investment by nearly US$1.3 billion to JPY 1.27 trillion, which is approximately US$8.60 billion due to rising costs of construction materials.

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With the validation now under their belt, it is anticipated that Osaka and its chosen IR ally, a consortium managed by local company Orix Corp and MGM Resorts, could officially sign an implementation contract this month, as mentioned above. As soon as it gets signed, the consortium is slated to start work on the ground liquefaction countermeasure this fall, with construction of the primary establishment slated to start sometime around spring 2025. In this regard, the Japan Tourism Agency, which is one of the coordinators of the IR validation process at the national level, said: “We have approved the implementation plan to be signed between the Osaka authorities and the private-sector companies that will develop the casino resort in the metropolis. Once the two sides sign the implementation plan – known locally as the implementation compact – a summary of the deal will be disclosed publicly by the Osaka prefecture, as required by Japan’s IR act.”

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Moreover, on September 8, Japan Tourism Agency’s Osaka IR District Development Plan evaluation assistant, expert panel, stated: “There was no change in that revised plan that did not meet the requirement criteria from the central authorities. There was no change large enough that required the panel to re-examine whether the plan meets the evaluation criteria.” Additionally, the aforementioned Osaka’s IR District Development Plan was validated “in principle” during April of this year by the Japanese authorities.

Layout of the proposed IR:

The main goal of building this integrated casino-resort is to lure domestic and global tourists.

Furthermore, this grand casino-resort will be located on Yumeshima, a reclaimed island in Osaka Bay that will host the 2025 World Expo, and will consist of a conference center, hotels, museum, shopping mall and ferry terminal. In addition to that, high-rollers will have entry to an adjacent helicopter pad.

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