Melco Resorts & Entertainment has announced it will withdraw its plans to develop an integrated resort (IR) in Yokohama, Japan.
The company expressed its disappointment at having to pull back from the lengthy plans, but says it remains committed to exploring other development opportunities in Japan.
The decision comes as the city voted in Takeharu Yamanaka, an anti-IR campaigner, as its new Mayor.
“For the past several years, we have worked with our partners to devise a superlative, world-class IR proposal that reflects the unique characteristics and culture of Yokohama and which would put the city on the global stage of tourism,” said Melco Resorts & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho.
“Our proposal was focused on the Asian premium segment, our devotion to quality and craftsmanship, and our dedication to creating a world-class entertainment destination. We designed this resort in a way that reflected Melco’s focus on quality, demonstrating a respectful approach to partnership, developing the most advanced protection measures in the world, and with stringent ethical business conduct during the process.
“Unfortunately, the citizens of Yokohama have decided otherwise, and the Mayoral election results give a clear verdict. The new Mayor, having campaigned on an anti-IR platform, has now closed the door on the process we engaged in with our partners. While we are disappointed, we are grateful for the friendships that we have formed throughout the process and express our sincere gratitude to the people and government of Yokohama, as well as our business and community partners, for their tremendous support.”
Melco operates several resorts in Macau, such as City of Dreams, Studio City and Altira, and had invested considerable time and money in the Yokohama project.
Ho does, however, remain confident that there is a future for the company in Japan, saying: “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.”