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Wakayama Dismisses Demands for IR Referendum

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Authorities in Wakayama have finally rejected a call for a public referendum on whether or not to allow proposals for an integrated resort (IR) in the city.

Last November, an anti-IR group began collecting more than 8000 signatures on a petition calling for a referendum on the city’s IR plans.

From January 24 to 27, a special session of the Council took place to debate and vote on the referendum. Finally, 28 officials voted against and only 9 of the 38-member council supported the plebiscite.

Wakayama’s mayor, Masahiro Kohana, who is in favour of developing an IR in the city, opposed the idea of ​​a referendum. He said there was already a formal process that allows for a vote on Wakayama Prefecture’s IR zone development plan. The mayor also said the referendum would be costly for the city.

Last December, Yoshinobu Nisaka, a member of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, called for Wakayama’s public hearing sessions on its IR plans to be postponed until residents can be provided with more information about the proposed development.

Nisaka said that to be able to submit a draft development plan, the “most important thing” that needs to be clarified is who will develop the project and how it will raise funds.

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