Japan govt updates IR basic policy, new dates confirmed

Japan govt updates IR basic policy, new dates confirmed

The Japanese national government indicated on Friday it would have a direct role in communicating with “IR-related companies” concerning the country’s push to have casino complexes, or integrated resorts (IRs) as they are known in that country, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.

Such liaison would be done via the central authorities’ IR promotion headquarters. Additionally on Friday, the country’s government confirmed the national basic policy on IRs, which was mostly the same as a draft made public in October.

A key update was confirmation of the period in which the national government will be accepting IR plans from local governments. It will be between October 1, 2021 and April 28, 2022, i.e., about a nine-month delay from a previously-announced timetable.

The national government assumes the timing of IR openings to be the late 2020s, taking into account the time needed for environmental assessment and construction. Up to three such venues will be permitted in a first phase of liberalisation.

The Japan Tourism Agency created the draft, and its acceptance at a meeting on Friday marks the official start of Japan’s IR realisation process. The agency is part of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

A number of international firms that already operate casino resorts in other markets, has in recent months pulled out of the race to build a casino resort in Japan.

They have cited factors including concerns about development costs, the possible scope of restrictive regulation, and delays in local and national decision-making, amid the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic. The latter has led to a sharp decline in core-market business for many foreign operators.

Banking group Nomura suggested in a recent memo that the mention of casino resort taxation topics in the latest tax reform proposals of Japan’s governing coalition, showed its commitment to the casino liberalisation policy in the country. “The tax proposals related to integrated resorts [IRs] are for financial year 2022, not financial year 2021,” noted the institution.

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