Japan Minister Says Interest of Foreign Companies Shows Japan’s IRs will be Profitable

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Kazuyoshi Akaba, Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, has rejected suggestions that the COVID-19 pandemic may render the nation’s IR industry untenable, insisting operators would not submit applications if they did not think IRs would be profitable.

Answering questions over the feasibility of IRs from the Constitutional Democratic Party’s Hiroyuki Moriyama during a House of Representatives budget committee meeting on March 1, Kazuyoshi Akaba said, “The operator will apply as a partner with the local government. If it is decided that there will be no profit at that point, they will [probably] not apply. They will only apply once they have made a full and thorough risk assessment. After that, the government will assess the application.

“Revenue for Japanese travel agents has dropped significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as the IR opening will be in the latter part of the decade, it is difficult to assess the impact. However, I believe the specific risks will be analyzed and then they will make a decision whether to apply or not.”

Akaba also rejected suggestions that IRs would result in Japanese assets being sold to foreign companies for a “quick profit.”

“We are considering not only foreign companies but also domestic companies,” Akaba said. “30% of casino revenue will be paid to national and local governments along with a corporate tax.”

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