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The Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido seems to be resurrecting its plans to bid to develop an integrated resort. The island’s prefecture has included the promotion of an IR in the latest draft of its 2023-2027 policy plan. Public comment is open until January 16.

The mayor of Tomakomai Hirofumi Iwakura has reiterated his support for an IR after local elections in June. He suggested the city’s Uenae area would be the preferred location.

It had previously been expected that Hokkaido may bid for an IR in this year’s national contest for three possible licences, but governor Naomichi Suzuki finally said that the prefecture wouldn’t bid in the first round of IRs. The governor cited practical concerns, such as environmental impact but said an IR could be proposed in the future.

The two contenders for the first round of IR licences are Osaka and Nagasaki. They have submitted IR District Development Plans and are waiting for a decision from the national government. That decision’s taking longer than expected, leading to concerns that the proposed IRs may not meet their proposed opening dates of 2029 and 2027.

The Land Ministry has said that the screening process has dragged on due to talks between the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and local governments.

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