Japan Approves New Changes to Osaka IR

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Japan is moving forward with its plans for an integrated resort (IR) with a casino in Osaka, although the final product may look significantly different than the initial proposal. After Osaka already acknowledged delays and changes to the plans, Japan's central government has approved the alterations to the project.

IR Could Still Open in 2020

Japan's federal government has given the green light to the partnership between Osaka Prefecture and the MGM Resorts International group, endorsing their endeavor to construct a comprehensive resort on Yumeshima island in Osaka. As a result, the implementation agreement has been officially approved, anticipating its imminent signing by Osaka and MGM later this month.

Related: MGM Confirms Fulll Participation in Japan IR

On Friday, Tetsuo Saito, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, disclosed the commitment following Osaka Prefecture's submission of a modified agreement on September 8. This revised accord consequently delays the previously scheduled debut by 12 months, now set for 2030, alongside an augmented initial investment that surges by approximately $1.3 billion.

This would make the IR cost JPY 1.27 trillion ($8.6 billion). A surge in construction costs was blamed for the increase in the estimate. At the same time, however, MGM and Osaka have announced that the casino floor will likely be 25% smaller than the original proposal.

Yumeshima Development Changes

Osaka and its chosen allies in the IR venture are anticipated to seal a deal this month thanks to the backing they have received from the central government. Following registration, they aim to initiate flood mitigation efforts this fall, with construction projected to commence in the spring of 2025.

The spot chosen for the IR is Yumeshima, a manmade island in Osaka Bay. It is built on reclaimed and soft land that was partially filled with debris to fill it out. In order to build the IR, Osaka agreed to fix any issues that could make the property physically unstable.

That included liquefication countermeasures to approximately 93 acres where the IR will stand. However, in the updated proposal, Osaka is only going to treat 51.9 acres. As a result, the cost of the liquefication process dropped by $172.5 million, or 37.8%.

The IR project is anticipated to offer a wide range of accommodations, encompassing three distinct hotel segments with a total of 2,500 rooms. Additionally, it will feature 730,000 square feet of MICE space and a variety of attractions, serving as a platform to exhibit Osaka and Japan.

There is still no word on a second proposed IR, which would be developed in Nagasaki. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is reportedly still reviewing the proposal.

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