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Japan – Japan to publish Basic Policy for IRs by end of July

By - 6 May 2020

Whilst the effects of the coronavirus pandemic looks highly likely to delay Japan’s IR implementation period in 2021, the final version of the government’s Basic Policy for IRs will be published by the end of July 2020.

Japan-based consultancy Bay City Ventures has released a report detailing the timeline.

Its Managing Director Joji Kokuryo said: “The submission period for IR implementation plans to the Central Government by local governments and their IR partners runs from 4 January 2021 to 30 July 2021. This clear deadline affects every single timeline. If there are to be changes, it is much more likely that the July 2021 deadline is moved than the 26 July 2020 date, as the latter would involve revising the IR Implementation Law.

“The four candidate local governments [Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki and Wakayama] have been moving around their schedules for a variety of reasons, however the one constant has always been to have their IR business partner decided in Autumn 2020. This is a simple back calculation from the July 30 2021 deadline, because there must be sufficient time to openly discuss and create a sound business plan for their application to the Central Government.

“Regardless of when the RFP procedure begins, local governments currently have a rough estimate of two to three months after receiving operator proposals to select their IR partner and at the very least seven months to finalise with their partner an IR business plan. This makes for a very tight schedule.”

In a white paper, Brendan Bussmann, Director of Government Affairs for Global Market Advisors, said: “As it stands currently, the central government will accept proposals from January 4 to July 30, 2021 and this timeframe will likely not move for a host of reasons. One of the main reasons for this is that the further this date gets pushed back, it is less likely that the integrated resort champion, Prime Minister Abe, will be spearheading the project.”

“Currently in Nagasaki and with the recent delay in Yokohama, potential bidders may get a fair advantage to determine their best business plan and RFP submission, as they would be due after the Fundamental Policy release, should it stay on schedule,” he added. “Osaka and Wakayama have already launched their RFP processes. One would hope that operators would be given the chance to fully understand the Fundamental Policy prior to the full submission of their plans. However, as COVID-19 continues to impact the world on a daily basis, it could also delay the release of the Fundamental Policy as Central Government is redirected to more immediate needs as opposed to other long-term policy. The last thing that Japan likely desires in their journey is to have the market be untenable and cause quality operators to leave the opportunity. Overall, GMA currently believes that any adjustment into the overall timeline will be minimal as the Central Government continues to push forward with its timeline of 2021 for the submission by prefectures.”

Caption: SunCity’s plans for Wakayama

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