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Yokohama mayor-elect deals Japan's casino dream a fresh blow

Outlook for already-strained mega projects dims as competition wanes

Yokohama's expected withdrawal from the race to host a casino leaves only three cities, all in western Japan, bidding for the same number of licenses. (Source photos by Reuters and Kyodo) 

TOKYO -- The result of the Yokohama mayoral election on Sunday has cast another shadow over Japan's ambitions to build massive casino resorts, a drive that was already under strain due to the withdrawal of interest by key foreign players amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Takeharu Yamanaka, a former professor at Yokohama City University, will become mayor on Aug. 30. On Monday he told news outlets he intends to make a declaration "at an early stage" that the city of Yokohama, next to Tokyo, will not apply to join the bidding process to host a casino.

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