Brendan D. Bussmann, Partner, Global Market Advisors
The Daily Download: What impact will COVID-19 have on Japan’s IR timeline?
Brendan Bussmann: Currently, the only COVID-19 impacts on the Japan IR timeline have been felt at the prefecture level. As local governments have had to redirect resources, the IR RFP selection process has been delayed.
Operators have also had the challenges of meeting remotely as travel internationally continues to be limited but this will likely start to open up in the coming months. Should a second wave or other changes in world events occur, you may see further challenges, but the Central Government timeline has not had any changes as of today.
DD: Which prefectures will be impacted the most?
BB: The smaller prefectures in Wakayama and Nagasaki have a greater challenge in the RFP effort because they do not necessarily have the vast resources of Osaka, Yokohama and Tokyo. However, all of these will likely have strong bids to compete for the three IR licenses.
DD: We recently saw Las Vegas Sands withdraw from the market. Will more follow?
BB: Las Vegas Sands invested over 15 years in the process and made a decision that it was not in their best interest for a variety of reasons to move forward.
However, Japan must balance current events while pushing forward with IRs including announcing the Fundamental Policy.
The framework remains one of the biggest challenges in what will be a strong market. Japan needs to understand that policies have a push-and-pull effect and stakeholders need to be careful not to kill the golden goose before it lays its eggs with the development of an integrated resort.