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Yokohama to hold discussions with IR operators to understand impact of COVID-19

Yokohama City Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has proposed initiating further dialogue with operators who took part in the city’s Request for Concept (RFC) process late last year in order to better understand how they have been impacted by COVID-19.

The dialogue is seen as an important new step in the city’s bid to find an operator partner and win approval from the central government to develop one of Japan’s first integrated resorts.

At the city council’s plenary session on Tuesday, Mayor Hayashi emphasized the need to pursue the IR project, stating, “Revival of tourism and MICE are essential for a long-term boost to the Yokohama economy.”

Additional dialogue would be considered for those operators who took part in the RFC, which include Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Genting Singapore and Sega Sammy Group. It is unclear whether Las Vegas Sands, who pulled out of the race in May, or Wynn Resorts, who recently shut down their Yokohama office, would be invited to take part.

Hayashi said Yokohama would “keep pace with the rest of the country” while proceeding with its IR plans.

In August, Yokohama city delayed publication of its IR implementation policy, which outlines requirements of the IR project, due to COVID-19 and anticipated delays to the national application timeline.

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