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Pandemic forces organizers to mull options for 2025 Osaka Expo Posted On 15-10-2020

Osaka, Japan

OSAKA – Later this month, the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions is expected to announce the postponement of this year’s World Expo in Dubai due to the coronavirus. Originally slated to run from October to April, the new dates will likely be October 2021 to March 2022.

The postponement will also affect Japan. A 2022 finish in Dubai means just three years until Osaka-Kansai/Japan Expo 2025. World Expos are held once every five years to give everyone ample time to prepare. Given the uncertainties over the coronavirus pandemic and the logistical and financial realities of hosting an Expo, Osaka, Kansai and national leaders may soon have to discuss options.

First up, of course, is the “Full Speed Ahead” option: The 2025 Expo takes place exactly as planned. But this looks very risky now because it assumes: 1) the crisis will soon end; 2) there won’t be new waves of infections between now and 2025 that create worldwide shutdowns; 3) that a vaccine will be administered globally by then; 4) that despite virus-related economic damage, most governments will commit to big exhibits in 2025; and 5) that, despite economic concerns in Japan about the virus and the postponed Tokyo Olympics, Kansai and national government and business leaders will honor their pre-pandemic promises of funding for the expo over the next few years.

Next is the “It’s a Small World” option. This means a 2025 Expo with fewer pavilions, events and visitors. On the plus side, a smaller Expo would be less expensive. Nations and businesses recovering from the coronavirus damage that might balk at forking out large sums of money for the current plan might be less opposed to investing in a “mini-Expo.”

Third is the “2026″ option — a one-year postponement. This assumes the Dubai Expo will not face another delay and gives Japan, and the world, another year to recover and prepare economically. Of course, it also assumes the coronavirus is no longer a threat. Yet it also raises the question of what to do with the 2030 Expo. Which leads to the next choice.

The “2030″ option: Given the international emphasis on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, Japan might want to hold an expo the same year to showcase the SDGs in a way that attracts more attention than the 2025 Expo would. This option also allows participants even more time to get their economies back in order.

The “Someday” option: This means cancelling the 2025 Expo with promises that when Osaka and Kansai resubmit a bid for some future Expo, it will be receive favorable treatment.

2025 is five years away. Given the amount of money so far invested, and the large egos and reputations of all involved who are devoted to sticking to the current plans and schedule, the official attitude is that there is still plenty of time to deal with the virus before 2025. So no need to think about canceling or postponing.

But circumstances beyond the control of Expo supporters over the coming months could force a rethink. This includes anything from another international wave of coronavirus outbreaks to worse-than-predicted economic difficulties. This could prove especially true in countries whose leaders declare they will only exhibit in 2025 if the Japanese government foots most of the bill.

Japan has already promised ¥24 billion in related funding to 100 countries, but there could be pressure to increase that amount. Whatever the situation with the virus in a few years, how Japanese politicians, and voters, will react if more tax money is spent on the current Expo plans while the economy is still sluggish, and if the Olympics prove to be a financial failure, remains to be seen. 

(the japan times / japantimes.co.jp Apr 18, 2020)

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/18/national/pandemic-forces-organizers-mull-options-2025-osaka-expo/

Osaka, Kansai, Japan Expo 2025 Official Website: https://www.expo2025.or.jp/en/ 

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Japan: Integrated Resort (IR) delay raises concerns Posted On 14-10-2020

Japan

The period for IR applications has been put back by nine months

Japan.- The postponement of the application period for local governments to develop integrated resorts in the country has raised concerns among the candidate cities and prefectures.

The Japanese government has officially announced that the window for applications will be put back by nine months, from January – July, 2021, to October 1, 2021 – April 28, 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The central government expects to publish its delayed Basic Policy on IRs after a new round of public consultation that concludes on November 7 this year.

The draft currently includes infectious disease countermeasures, rules on the taking and storing of minutes from meetings between government officials and operators, and greater efforts to prevent problem gambling and addiction.

Currently, Osaka city and prefecture, Yokohama city, Wakayama prefecture and Nagasaki prefecture have announced they will make formal bids for one of the three IR licences that will be available.

In Yokohama city, the delay will give more time to opponents of the project, who have become increasingly vocal. Mayor Hayashi, who strongly supports the project, will face reelection on August 29, 2021, before the application period begins.

Wakayama’s governor Yoshinobu Nisaka, has expressed regret and “deep dissatisfaction” with the delay.

Osaka is also disappointed since, if successful, it had hoped to open its IR in time for when it hosts the World Expo in 2025, which now seems unlikely.

However, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura of Osaka Prefecture said it was a “reasonable decision.” The Osaka Metropolis Plan will be voted upon on November 1.  (10/12/2020 Focus Asia Pacific)

https://focusgn.com/asia-pacific/japan-ir-delay-raises-concerns

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Japan Integrated Resort (IR) application process to be postponed Posted On 14-10-2020

Japan

According to local media, Japanese authorities will announce the extension of the application period for IR bids.

Japan.- The Japanese government is likely to put back the application period for integrated resort bids by up to a year.

Local media reports that the government is preparing to announce the postponement due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kyodo nws agency says national authorities have decided to postpone the process until at least next autumn.

The decision will put back the eventual opening of the complexes, which had been expected to complete in the middle of the decade.

Prefectures that have already expressed their intention to bid are: Yokohama, Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki. (10/09/2020 Focus Asia Pacific)

https://focusgn.com/asia-pacific/japan-ir-application-process-to-be-postponed

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Osaka: casino resort project suspended due to Covid-19 Posted On 14-10-2020

Osaka, Japan

Osaka city was expected to develop its integrated resort project this year but the current situation has halted all plans until further notice.

Japan.- Osaka prefecture has confirmed to local press that it has suspended the process for developing a casino complex in the city due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said: “Under the coronavirus situation, the process related to the IR has been suspended from the time when previously the prefecture and city announced the postponement of the RFP [request-for-proposal] submission deadline, on June 23.”

He added: “The prefecture and city together with MGM Resorts International have maintained its positive, forward-looking stances on Osaka IR.”

As has already been reported, MGM Resorts partnered with Japanese financial services group Orix Corp to develop a bid for the IR complex.

According to analysts, casino liberalisation in Japan has been halted not only by the Covid-19 pandemic but also because of the national government’s delay in issuing its basic policy on IRs.

Yokohama prefecture has already announced it will postpone its IR project until further notice while it waits for the national government’s directions to draw up its local implementation policy.

At the moment, legislation says it will be permitted to open a maximum of three casino resorts in Japan and that local governments interested in hosting a resort must choose a private-sector partner then apply to the national government to have one. (Focus Asia Pacific 08/26/20)

https://focusgn.com/asia-pacific/osaka-casino-resort-project-suspended-due-to-covid-19


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Fukuoka City Encourages Businesses To Move to Fukuoka on Trial Basis Posted On 01-10-2020

Fukuoka, Japan

Reflecting on the increased interest in rural relocation, Fukuoka City is collaborating with two co-working spaces and a resort hotel on offers of discounted rates for those who try out living and working in Fukuoka. IT companies (Web services, digital content productions, software developments etc.) which agree to provide feedback to the city about their relocation experience are eligible for the program. Application is required two weeks in advance to travel to Fukuoka.  Source: Fukuoka City / PR times

 (Inquiry: 092-711-4336/ invest@city.fukuoka.lg.jp 福岡市経済観光文化局 創業・立地推進部企業誘致課)

Co-working spaces: SALT, The Company

Hotel: The Luigans Spa & Resort

https://www.fukuoka-now.com/en/news/fukuoka-city-encourages-businesses-to-move-to-fukuoka-on-trial-basis/

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