Melco Resorts & Entertainment has stopped its pursuit of an integrated resort development in the city of Yokohama, the company announced in a statement yesterday.
This decision comes after the opposition-backed Takeharu Nakayama, who campaigned on an anti-IR platform, won the Yokohama mayoral election.
“Unfortunately, the citizens of Yokohama have decided […] and the mayoral election results give a clear verdict. The new mayor […] has now closed the door on the process we engaged in with our partners,” said Lawrence Ho, Chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment.
“While we are disappointed, we are grateful for the friendships that we have formed throughout the process and [we] express our sincere gratitude to the people and government of Yokohama, as well as our business and community partners, for their tremendous support,” he added.
Melco partnered with the Japanese construction and civil engineering company Taisei Corporation for the integrated resort bid; and qualified for the city’s Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop an integrated resort.
With this farewell in the race, the company pledged that it remains committed to Japan and will continue to explore development opportunities in the country.
“Melco has been working on the ground in Japan for over a decade. We firmly believe in the country’s long-term potential and remain committed to exploring opportunities to develop the world’s best integrated resort in Japan. We will be closing our Yokohama office while maintaining a representative office in Tokyo,” Ho concluded.
Across Japan, four cities have proclaimed their intention to create their own integrated resorts: Osaka, Yokohama, Wakayama and Nagasaki.
Japanese policymakers have been eyeing companies with experience in operating high-end resorts in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since the applications for integrated resorts opened in Japan, gaming operators and junkets from Macau have applied. However, many of these applicants withdrew their application earlier this year.