Japanese Central Government Rejects Nagasaki’s IR Plans

The Japanese government has recently rejected the plan to establish a Las Vegas-style casino-centered integrated resort (IR) in Nagasaki Prefecture due to uncertainties about its financing. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism cited doubts over the feasibility of the project’s financing as the primary reason for turning down the proposal.

The plan for the IR project had been under review since April of the previous year, alongside plans for a similar project in Osaka. The Nagasaki Prefecture government intended to open the IR in 2027 at Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed theme park located in Sasebo, Nagasaki. The proposed IR would include luxurious hotels, a global exhibition hall, a casino, and commercial facilities on a 31-hectare plot of land.

It was estimated that the project would attract 8.4 million guests annually and generate 330 billion yen ($2.3 billion) in income for the region. The prefecture aimed to cover 60% of the nearly 440 billion yen ($3.1 billion) investment through credits from financial institutions. However, a financial crisis at Credit Suisse, a key funder of the IR project, led to uncertainties about the funding.

In Japan, opening a casino requires government validation and a license, amongst other stringent requirements. The decision-making process for government approval is overseen by an expert committee under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. The committee evaluates the project’s potential to attract foreign tourists, measures against gambling addiction, and its economic benefits.

Meanwhile, a similar IR project in Osaka has been officially approved by the Japanese National Government. The Osaka IR will be constructed on Yumeshima, a reclaimed island in Osaka Bay, and will include a conference center, hotels, a museum, shopping mall, and ferry terminal. It is projected to attract nearly 20 million guests annually and generate 1.14 trillion yen in revenue for the region. The overall cost of the Osaka IR project is estimated at 1.27 trillion yen, with an expected opening date in the autumn of 2030.