Japan Is Innovating Mobility As A Service And Creating A $61 Billion Market

Japanese trains are famous for cleanliness and punctuality. If a bullet train is five minutes late, it’s national news. Railway companies also operate large station shopping complexes and have played a major role in the growth of Japanese cities. But their bottom line is overshadowed by shrinking ridership due to the declining population. To compensate, they’re trying to address passenger concerns about the coronavirus while making it easier for tourists, women and elderly people to get around. That’s where a uniquely Japanese effort to promote mobility as a service (MaaS) comes in.

Made-in-Japan mobility

MaaS is sometimes thought of as on-demand transport such as ride-hailing services or vehicle sharing, but it’s more than that. According to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, MaaS is a system of search, reservation, payment, etc. that optimally combines multiple public transportation and other travel services in response to the travel needs of each local resident or traveler on a trip-by-trip basis. It is an important means that contributes to improving the convenience of travel and solving local issues by coordinating with non-transport services at destinations such as tourism and medical care.

The ministry is promoting MaaS, leveraging Japan’s transportation expertise, including the ability to move millions of people every day around large cities like Tokyo quickly, efficiently and on time, to further improve mobility in Japan. Public and private interest in MaaS in Japan has sparked expectations of major growth: in 2019, Yano Research Institute forecast the domestic MaaS market will hit 6.3 trillion yen ($61 billion) in 2030, up from 84.5 billion yen ($813 million) in 2018 and growing 44.1% annually from 2016.

In 2019, the Japanese government began to work on MaaS policies in earnest. They emphasize the need for data sharing to build standardized MaaS rules and platforms. They also stress the need to realize efficient mobility services by connecting a variety of mobility mode and infrastructure data, wider implementation of cashless payments and subscriptions with destination service-related data. In addition, they focus on new services provided by new types of vehicles. These include AI-equipped vehicles for on-demand transportation, electric small mobility vehicles, and self-driving mobility services. Japan is using this approach to cultivate its own spin on the concept, known as Japan MaaS.

“Japan differs from the West in that its public transit systems are predominantly run by the private sector,” says Tsuchida Hiromichi, director of the ministry’s Mobility Service Promotion Division. “This means different players can work together to make MaaS as efficient as possible.”

In a regional approach to promoting MaaS, the ministry is working with local governments and private-sector companies. The aim is both to improve transportation options for local residents, especially elderly people in rural areas, and to make it easier for foreign visitors to get around to parts of the country that are off the beaten path for travelers.

MaaS is already taking root in different regions of Japan, says Tsuchida. In Fukuoka City and Kitakyushu City, Toyota Motor and Nishi-Nippon Railroad (Nishitetsu) launched a multi-modal smartphone mobility service called “my route” that lets users plan an outing by inputting a destination and then selecting from different routes and means of travel, including walking, buses, trains and taxis. The app has payment services as well as destination information such as restaurants and cafes. It entered full service last year, and joins a nascent MaaS infrastructure in Japan including popular apps that help commuters navigate complex transit networks in big cities.  

“Japan has many transportation players, with competition resulting in better services,” says Tsuchida. “That’s why transportation in Japan is punctual and safe and has broad coverage. Each of these aspects is sophisticated in and of itself but by combining them, MaaS in Japan has great potential.”

Creating a MaaS market

Hidaka Yosuke worked as a train driver, conductor and maintenance specialist for 12 years before he decided to become an entrepreneur by setting up his own company dedicated to rethinking transportation. Established in 2018, MaaS Tech Japan creates solutions that maximize the value of MaaS for companies and governments. It compiles big data on transport and payments and develops white label apps for MaaS.

“As a train driver, I worked in rural areas with many old people facing mobility challenges,” says Hidaka, who drove trains on the 575-km Tohoku Main Line and other JR East lines before becoming CEO of MaaS Tech Japan. “I became convinced that the rapidly aging society is not a problem that one company alone can solve.”

MaaS Tech Japan is a data integrator collaborating with transportation players to provide mobility solutions. It works with private companies and local governments including the prefectures of Tokyo and Hiroshima as well as Kamishihoro Town, Hokkaido and Kaga City, Ishikawa. It combines various kinds of data related to hundreds of providers such as rail and taxi operators, and conducts simulations on passenger flows to show clients how their transportation needs can best be served.

For instance, it has cooperated with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to suggest ways of easing congestion on mass transit systems to mitigate spread of the coronavirus. It has also proposed ways in which Kaga City can use mobility solutions to help elderly people get around and to help tourists discover lesser-known attractions such as its hot springs. Aside from local governments, MaaS Tech Japan is partnering with the state-backed New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Microsoft Japan, Tokio Marine Nichido and other players eager to promote MaaS.

The startup is also looking to incorporate MaaS solutions involving autonomous vehicles, energy savings and smart cities.

man sitting in office chair

“Aside from the challenges of aging populations and coronavirus, we want to help tackle climate change and the need to decarbonize the economy because this is all part of the smart city,” says Hidaka. “We want to work with businesses, consumers and governments because collaboration is the key to a solution for mobility. We aim to make a strong contribution in this area.”

Note: All Japanese names in this article are given in the traditional Japanese order, with surname first.

To learn more about MaaS Tech Japan, click here (website in Japanese).

To learn more about MaaS policy by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, click here (website in Japanese).



Japan is changing. The country is at the forefront of demographic change that is expected to affect countries around the world. Japan regards this not as an onus but as a bonus for growth. To overcome this challenge, industry, academia and government have been moving forward to produce powerful and innovative solutions. The ongoing economic policy program known as Abenomics is helping give rise to new ecosystems for startups, in addition to open innovation and business partnerships. The Japan Voice series explores this new landscape of challenge and opportunity through interviews with Japanese and expatriate innovators who are powering a revitalized economy. For more information on the Japanese Government innovations and technologies, please visit https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/.


Prime Minister’s Office of Japan

Through innovation, Japan is offering solutions to various challenges that the world faces. Watch the “INNOVATION JAPAN” series and get inspired. Innovation Japan https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/in… _______________ Prime Minister’s Office of Japan YouTube Channel is operated by the Government of Japan. □JapanGov https://www.japan.go.jp/https://www.facebook.com/JapanGov/https://twitter.com/japangov/ □Prime Minister’s Office of Japan and His Cabinet http://japan.kantei.go.jp/index.htmlhttps://www.facebook.com/Japan.PMOhttps://twitter.com/JPN_PMO

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Japan’s Healthcare System Stood Up To The Coronavirus. It’s Now Going Global


Japan has been credited with containing the COVID-19 pandemic, and many observers have questioned how it was done. Explanations have included Japanese lifestyle and customs, such as bowing instead of shaking hands. But one factor that’s been overlooked is Japan’s universal healthcare system, which was established more than 60 years ago.

All 126 million Japanese have equal access to advanced medical care. The country has one of the world’s best-ranked healthcare systems, and one of the longest-lived and healthiest populations. Japan’s resilience in the face of a devastating pandemic is one reason why it’s now exporting its medical and healthcare expertise to other countries.

Japan wants to help other countries enhance their healthcare systems so they can best serve the needs of their people, says Dr. Kondo Tatsuya, CEO of Medical Excellence JAPAN (MEJ), which promotes Japanese healthcare abroad. MEJ works with dozens of organizations in Japan to bring innovation and best practices to bear when fighting complex public health challenges such as COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The new digital hospital

The Kitahara group of healthcare organizations is one of MEJ’s members. It operates medical institutions including Kitahara International Hospital in Hachioji City, western Tokyo. Established as a neurosurgery center in 1995, the Kitahara group expanded its services and facilities such as a rehabilitation hospital and a brain checkup clinic, and initiated an emergency medicine project in Cambodia. While the novel coronavirus spread throughout Japan, significantly affecting some medical centers, the Kitahara group’s facilities had no cases of COVID-19. It was able to keep the virus out through strict sanitary measures as well as a cutting-edge security system.

“Even before the first COVID-19 patient in Japan, we were routinely gathering information and taking measures to prevent infections,” says Hamasaki Chika, general manager in the Business Promotion Department of Kitahara Medical Strategies International. “When we accept emergency patients, we conduct our own screening, including thorough interviews and chest scans. By doing this, we managed to identify patients who needed special attention, which was provided in a separate location.”

The Kitahara group and NEC codeveloped the security system, which grants access based on visitors’ biometric information. Not only can it keep unauthorized people out of the hospital, it can prevent dementia patients from leaving when it’s not safe for them. Using facial recognition technology, the system can also detect where staff, visitors and patients have been inside the hospital, facilitating any tracing of infection routes.

“We know who went where, and we can grasp the movement of people in the hospital,” says group spokesperson Kameda Yoshikazu. “Since the system prevents dementia patients from leaving when it’s unsafe, they have minimal restrictions on their movements, which reduces their stress.”

The security system is only one aspect of the what the Kitahara group terms a digital hospital. Staff use virtual reality headsets to help stroke patients in their rehabilitation exercises, as well as virtual travel to help them relax. Using VR headsets, patients have been able to experience virtual travel at a time of real travel restrictions due to the coronavirus. The VR therapy is aiding their rehabilitation, according to Kameda.

Using advanced technology is part of what the Kitahara group calls its Total Life Support service focused on community medicine. Staff go beyond the traditional roles of Japanese hospital workers by offering patients support on everything from dealing with emergencies and rehabilitation to everyday administrative procedures process and knowing their rights.

In an unusual move for a Japanese healthcare provider, the group is exporting this model. It’s bringing its knowhow to Cambodia via its Sunrise Japan Hospital in Phnom Penh, as well as to other countries through training programs and seminars in Japan and overseas. The challenge facing the group is to expand the model within Japan and to grow overseas ties.

“Our Total Life Support approach is unique in Japan,” says Hamasaki. “It’s a package we offer for the resilience of society. Our Hachioji Model is something we want to provide to Southeast Asia and beyond, including the Pacific Rim, Central Asia and the Middle East.”

Globalizing Japanese medicine

The globalization of Japanese medicine and healthcare is the raison d’être of MEJ, a public-private partnership established in 2011 with the help of the Japanese government. MEJ is dedicated to promoting not only Japanese healthcare services and products to the world, but also access to Japanese medicine for people from overseas. Furthermore, it emphasizes the concept of rational medicine, which Dr. Kondo describes as a holistic approach to medicine to serve the best interests of the patient.

MEJ is comprised of 50 member businesses including major Japanese life-science, manufacturing and insurance companies. MEJ also runs the MEJ Forum, an exchange platform for medical entities and associations in Japan that are interested in globalization of their services. It launched Japan Hospital Search, a search engine that directs inbound medical travelers to international hospitals throughout Japan that are accredited by the MEJ.

“Medical care in Japan has had a domestic focus, but we would like it to make an international contribution,” says Dr. Kondo. “We want to provide mutual benefits for both people in and outside Japan, so it’s a win-win situation.”

A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Dr. Kondo worked as a neurosurgeon before becoming chief executive of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), the entity responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of drugs and medical devices in Japan. At both the PMDA and MEJ, Dr. Kondo has promoted the concept of healthcare incorporating the many disciplines supporting medicine, including biology, pharmacology and engineering. He believes healthcare should be based on regulatory science, an ethical approach to science and technology to benefit society. His vision for medicine is reflected in the MEJ’s Rational Medicine Initiative, an approach that calls for combining innovations in medicine and healthcare to produce the highest level of patient-centric care.

While promoting inbound medical tourism, MEJ wants to help establish medical centers of excellence in developing countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. This would be an opportunity for mutual learning and collaboration, and would also ensure that the best practices of Japanese healthcare and the Rational Medicine Initiative are shared with people outside Japan.

“Each country has its unique circumstances. We engage in international cooperation and development with a deep respect for the pride of the people of every country,” says Dr. Kondo. “I was born during wartime, and I believe that instead of advancing through competition, countries should strive for common benefit. This is why the world needs a system like the one we have at MEJ.”

Note: All Japanese names in this article are given in the traditional Japanese order, with surname first.

To learn more about Kitahara International Hospital, click here.

To learn more about Medical Excellence JAPAN, click here.

Japan is changing. The country is at the forefront of demographic change that is expected to affect countries around the world. Japan regards this not as an onus but as a bonus for growth. To overcome this challenge, industry, academia and government have been moving forward to produce powerful and innovative solutions. The ongoing economic policy program known as Abenomics is helping give rise to new ecosystems for startups, in addition to open innovation and business partnerships. The Japan Voice series explores this new landscape of challenge and opportunity through interviews with Japanese and expatriate innovators who are powering a revitalized economy. For more information on the Japanese Government innovations and technologies, please visit https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/

Source: https://www.forbes.com/


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Japanese Startups Harness Cloud Healthcare To Tackle COVID-19 And Clinical Trials


While countries around the world grapple with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Japanese startups are accelerating the deployment of telemedicine and clinical trials, important tools to overcome the pandemic as well as future disease outbreaks.

Legacy healthcare procedures and regulations have slowed the development of more efficient ways to provide medical care and perform clinical research. The coronavirus pandemic is speeding the transformation of conventional medicine into digital health, comprising everything from telemedicine to diagnoses supported by artificial intelligence. Japanese entrepreneurs are seizing this opportunity to provide unique solutions in Japan and overseas.

Delivering healthcare in a pandemic

Over the past few months, Tokyo-based MICIN has seen unprecedented demand for Curon, its telemedicine solution, as patients and healthcare providers try to minimize coronavirus infections. The service is helping popularize telemedicine in Japan. Curon is an app from MICIN that lets users fill out health questionnaires, schedule appointments with doctors, consult with them over video, and pay for services. They can also arrange for prescriptions to be sent to pharmacies and have medicine delivered. The cost is as little as 300 yen ($2.79) per session.

“What we wanted to do is help patients and physicians use telemedicine easily and painlessly,” says Hara Seigo, cofounder and CEO of MICIN. “For patients, the entire experience, from booking a consult to medicine delivery, is seamless. The app can also gather important healthcare data from medical devices, such as blood pressure monitors, for review by doctors. For healthcare providers, adoption is as easy as possible because patients pay for the telemedicine service.”

Curon was launched in April 2016, about five months after Hara founded MICIN along with Kusama Ryoichi and Shiohama Ryushi. Hara began his career in medical practice, working as a hospital physician before moving to a Japanese think tank to do health policy research and recommendations. After graduating business school in the United States, he took a job in a consulting firm with clients including pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers.

“I’ve been involved in healthcare in various capacities, but my passion has always been to help the healthcare system in Japan,” says Hara. “When I was a doctor, patients diagnosed with disease or facing death often voiced regret about not knowing earlier. I want to eliminate this kind of regret through entrepreneurship. That’s why our vision is that everyone lives their life with dignity. I also enjoy creating value from scratch with my trusted colleagues.”

MICIN applied for and received approval to use Japan’s sandbox deregulation scheme in 2018, when the government began telemedicine-related reimbursements. Users suffering COVID-19- or influenza-like symptoms have been able to use MICIN’s Curon platform for consultations without fear of spreading infection by visiting clinics. Hara also believes telemedicine apps like Curon can improve access to medical care, even in countries like Japan that have advanced, universal healthcare systems.

With the surge in interest due to the pandemic, Curon has been used by tens of thousands of patients in Japan and at more than 4,000 hospitals and clinics nationwide. Meanwhile, MICIN is focused on adding features such as predicting disease from symptoms, promoting telemedicine with patient platforms such as Japan’s MedicalNote, and collaborating with academics to gather evidence of the benefits of telemedicine.

“We’re hoping telemedicine will be a game changer in Japan,” says Hara. “There will be a new normal where more patients and doctors can use telemedicine as a matter of course.”

Less paper, more productivity

Before a vaccine can be developed for the new coronavirus, therapeutic drugs will continue to play a critical role, and clinical trials are vital in evaluating both vaccine and therapeutic drug candidates. But clinical trials require time and money and are prone to delays. They also involve multiple stakeholders in different locations and a complex array of regulations.

Agatha is a Tokyo-based startup that’s taking some of the pain points out of clinical trials by providing automated processes for creating, managing and tracking clinical trial documents. Agatha offers a cloud-based system that connects all participants, allowing them to share documents, communicate and collaborate. This is a huge advantage because a single clinical trial can involve over 100 hospitals, multiple manufacturers and thousands of patients.

Traditionally, this has been a paper-driven process involving trial protocols, consent forms and monthly reports up to 300 pages long. Agatha’s system is compliant with regulations in Japan, the U.S. and Europe relating to health records, clinical trial regulations and rules relating to long-term storage of records.

“Our solution is to remove the paper and put everything online,” says Agatha cofounder and CEO Kamakura Chiemi. “What makes us unique is that we can offer this solution for both hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, while most other companies serve one or the other.”

Kamakura became an entrepreneur through a chance discovery. After earning an MBA at Rice University in Texas, she returned to Japan and was working in business development at a Japanese conglomerate when she visited a group hospital and came upon big stacks of paper being used for a clinical trial. Intrigued, she learned that hospitals were going through two tons of paper annually, but only drug makers could afford the $2 million software solutions offered by her company.

In 2015, she established Agatha to deliver on her vision of a cloud-based solution at a price more than 100 times less than that of her former employer. Agatha now has about 200 clients, of which approximately half are hospitals and half are pharmaceuticals and medical device makers.

Agatha has seen increased demand amid the COVID-19 epidemic in Japan, as pharmaceutical firms and research organizations have become reluctant to dispatch workers to hospitals. Building on its success, Agatha is now aiming to add artificial intelligence features to its services while expanding its business outside Japan. With offices in France and the U.S., a French COO and a new head of North American operations, Agatha is well positioned to build its business abroad. New overseas customers include companies such as Mablink Bioscience, a French firm specializing in immuno-oncology, and Agatha has built partnerships with firms in countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia and China.

“Our system is very quick, very cost effective and can be used right away,” says Kamakura. “We’re meeting the needs of small biotech, pharma, and medical device companies as well as system integrators in various countries that want to offer Agatha as part of their consultation services. This is all part of our broader mission, which is to contribute to healthier lives everywhere around the globe.”

Note: All Japanese names in this article are given in the traditional Japanese order, with surname first.

To learn more about MICIN, click here (website in Japanese).

To learn more about Agatha, click here.

To learn more about Japan’s regulatory sandbox scheme, click here.

Japan is changing. The country is at the forefront of demographic change that is expected to affect countries around the world. Japan regards this not as an onus but as a bonus for growth. To overcome this challenge, industry, academia and government have been moving forward to produce powerful and innovative solutions. The ongoing economic policy program known as Abenomics is helping give rise to new ecosystems for startups, in addition to open innovation and business partnerships. The Japan Voice series explores this new landscape of challenge and opportunity through interviews with Japanese and expatriate innovators who are powering a revitalized economy. For more information on the Japanese Government innovations and technologies, please visit https://www.japan.go.jp/technology/.

Source: https://www.forbes.com


Dr. Andre Muelenaer is able to provide the same level of care for patients outside of Roanoke through telemedicine technology. Watch this video to see how the technology works and the convenience it provides for our patients.

Japan Introduces New Regulations for Cryptocurrency Margin Trading

Japanese financial regulators have reportedly introduced new regulations for cryptocurrency margin trading, local news agency Nikkei reported on March 18.The Cabinet of Japan, the executive branch of the country’s government, has reportedly approved draft amendments to Japan’s financial instruments and payment services laws, limiting leverage in cryptocurrency margin trading at two to four times the initial deposit.Margin trading is the use of borrowed funds from a broker to trade a financial asset, thus forming a collateral for the loan.The new rules — which are reportedly et to come into force in April 2020 — will require cryptocurrency exchange operators to register within 18 months of that date, which will purportedly enable the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to introduce relevant measures in regard to unregistered cryptocurrency “quasi-operators…….

Source: Japan Introduces New Regulations for Cryptocurrency Margin Trading

Japan Casino Resort Hopeful Wakayama Makes Its Case

Tuna fileting demonstrations at Kuroshiro Market are a signature attraction of Marina City, proposed site of a Wakayama integrated resort.Muhammad Cohen

Integrated resorts in Japan’s largest cities promise to be spectacular successes. But most action on the IR front right now is in the so-called regional sector, areas that have been losing population and relevance as economic power becomes more concentrated in major urban centers. Hokkaido, north of main island Honshu, held an IR showcase in January with seven IR operators participating. Last month, Wakayama, east of Osaka, hosted 300 people for an IR forum.

“Wakayama continues to be aggressive in letting everyone know that they desire to host one of Japan’s three potential IRs,” Global Marketing Advisors government affairs director Brendan Bussmann, who spoke at the event, says. Government plans call for Wakayama’s IR to have 2,500 guest rooms plus convention and exhibition facilities and cost about US$2.5 billion to develop.

“Attendees seemed pleased – this was, for most, the first time they were able to listen to and meet with IR operators,” Hogo managing partner in Japan Chris Wieners says. The hospitality and entertainment marketing specialist organized the half-day event along with publisher Asia Gaming Brief, supported by the Wakayama Prefecture Government and Chamber of Commerce plus four IR operators, Manila’s Solaire, France’s Groupe Barriere, US tribal Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment.

Wakayama Governor Yoshiniobu Nisaka provides strong support for the IR effort.Wakayama Prefecture Government

Wakayama may be the least risky regional IR location from numerous perspectives. Unabashedly pro-IR Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka was reelected to a fourth term last November by a four-to-one margin in a campaign that Nisaka’s opponent declared a referendum on casinos.

Like Osaka, Wakayama has selected its IR site. Unlike elsewhere, “You can start construction right away,” Governor Nisaka says. Wakayama’s IR will occupy roughly half of Marina City, a 49 hectare (121 acre) artificial island in Osaka Bay that’s a short drive from downtown Wakayama City, the prefecture capital. The island currently houses tourist facilities including seafood and fruit markets: Wakayama is famed for oranges and plums.

Marina City also has a yacht harbor, hotel, onsen (hot spring) with sea views and fishing pier. There’s room for a ferry to connect to the airport and even cruise ship facilities. IR plans call for capitalizing on the seaside location with water sports and a leisure vibe. An amusement park now on the IR site would be easily demolished, and there are no chemical or archaeological surprises looming.

Seiganto-ji Temple is among the UNESCO World Heritage sites that attract more than 30 million visitors annually to Wakayama.Wakayama Prefecture Government

Wakayama Prefecture already annually attracts 33.4 million overwhelmingly domestic tourists, drawn mainly by UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist shrines, Waikiki sister beach Shirarahama and Adventure Land, a wildlife and amusement park featuring pandas. Wakayama City hosts Japan’s Olympic sailing training center and annual national scholastic sailing competition.

Wakayama’s top selling point: it’s in Kansai region, Japan’s second largest population center with more than 22 million people. Wakayama City is 40 minutes by car from Kansai International Airport, the region’s overseas gateway, marginally closer than Osaka and just over an over by train or car from Osaka city. Access to potential domestic and foreign customers boosts Wakayama’s case.

It’s widely assumed that Osaka will win an IR licenses, bolstered by its successful bid for the 2025 World Expo. With just three IR licenses on offer nationally, skeptics doubt Japan would award two to the same region. Many also suggest a Wakayama IR couldn’t compete with an Osaka IR expected to cost four times as much.

Wakayama City seen from Wakayama Palace. Proposed IR site Marina City is over the arch bridge in the left background.Wakayama Prefecture Government

“One IR won’t for enough for Kansai,” Barriere Japan president Jonathan Strock says. “Osaka and Wakayama IRs are not competitors, they’re complementary,” Osaka as a primarily domestic destination with Wakayama targeting foreigners. Barriere, which runs more than two dozen casinos around France, has made Wakayama “the focus of our IR efforts.”

It will likely take about a year until the central government is ready to assess IR bids from localities to consider awarding licenses. If two or more of Japan’s largest cities use that time to follow Osaka’s lead and enter the IR fray, the central government must decide whether to issue a regional license or take a more lucrative urban opportunity – central and host governments split the 30% gaming tax and ¥6,000 (US$54) casino entry fee for Japanese residents. That’s a political decision.

“The national government appears to be heading in the general direction to re-balance the focus and concentration of wealth, talent and population from Tokyo and other major prefectures, to these regional areas, lest the imbalance widen,” Vector Risk Management managing director Kenji Okamoto says. “Providing a regional license may also help garner support and interest for IRs, both of which are still lacking among the general populace.”

Those goals may or may not outweigh the political imperative that every IR be an overwhelming commercial success. As a regional location accessible to an urban population, Wakayama has a pair of aces in the hole.

Hong Kong On Air author Muhammad Cohen is Editor At Large for Inside Asian Gaming. Follow him on Twitter @Muhammad Cohen.

Source: Japan Casino Resort Hopeful Wakayama Makes Its Case

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