On September 4, 2019, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism ("MLIT") released a draft Basic Policy ("Basic Policy") on integrated resorts (including gaming) in Japan. The release of the Basic Policy is required under the terms of the Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Areas Development Act ("IR Act"). In accordance with the IR Act, the Basic Policy is intended to address certain fundamental issues regarding the development of integrated resorts, such as general goal, measures for promoting development, and an outline of basic requirements for implementation policies and area development plans to be prepared by local governments.

The standards for approving area development plans have received particular attention in recent months because only three area development plans will be approved by the MLIT, while a far greater number of local governments have expressed an interest in hosting integrated resorts. According to the draft Basic Policy, the MLIT will establish a review committee consisting of experts to evaluate the area development plans and also establish a set of "minimum standards" that must be satisfied and an additional set of "evaluation standards" that will be used to identify superior plans (the MLIT will also separately decide on how to apportion scores across these criteria).

The draft Basic Policy was open for public comment through October 3, 2019. The MLIT is now considering the comments received and may make further changes to the Basic Policy.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.