Sapporo, Feb. 20 (Jiji Press) — Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi expressed Wednesday her eagerness to open a casino-featuring integrated resort in the northernmost Japan prefecture.
“It’s important for us to work on inviting an integrated resort on the premise that all possible measures to address various issues of concern are taken,” she said at a plenary meeting of the Hokkaido prefectural assembly.
Up until now, Takahashi has avoided clarifying her stance on integrated resorts while citing gambling addiction and other related problems.
Takahashi is slated to retire as governor at the end of her current fourth four-year term in April and run in the election this summer for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, from the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which has many lawmakers positive on integrated resorts.
An actual decision on whether to invite an integrated resort will be made by a new Hokkaido governor, to be picked in the gubernatorial election in April.
Naomichi Suzuki, mayor of the Hokkaido city of Yubari, who has declared his bid to run in the gubernatorial race, has said that he will consider the matter from the perspectives of Hokkaido residents.
Meanwhile, Tomohiro Ishikawa, a former member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, who has also declared his candidacy in the election, has said that he is not positive on the idea of Hokkaido hosting an integrated resort, noting that he is skeptical about its economic effects.