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Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui has revealed at his regular press conference that three of the four companies requesting a real estate appraisal for the lot earmarked for the Osaka IR bid have agreed on the leasing price.

Prior to the mayor’s press conference, Osaka Port Office explained to the media on 15 December that there had been “absolutely no” guidance provided to the contractors performing the assessment. Due to the lack of any business results in the past, each of the companies calculated it as a “large commercial facility complex” and three of the four companies calculated the monthly rent amount at JPY428 ($3.15) per square meter. This is twice the value as that of the surrounding light industrial zone.

Osaka city plans to lease 49 hectares of land on Yumeshima to the planned operator for a 35-year lease for the annual rental fee of JPY 2.5 billion ($18.4 million).

Mayor Matsui explained at the press conference: “This land was not for sale in the first place. The sale price was only calculated as a basis for setting the lease fees. The lease amount can’t be determined without knowing the value of the land. The IR operator requested that the IR plot be leased and not sold. They said they want the initial investment to be building, not land.”

In response to a question suggesting the lease price has been set much lower than that of the Universal Studio Japan (USJ) land prices in the Konoha Ward, the mayor responded, “When USJ was first pitched, the lease was cheap, and it has risen with USJ’s growth. Yumeshima’s land will not be sold but leased. I believe the price will increase with the market over the next 10 or 20 years.

“First, we will make the land appealing. It’s the same as what we did with USJ. The value of the land will increase as the location becomes a central gathering point. However, the initial foundation must be appraised by the appraisal office. This is still a location unaffected by market forces [as there is currently nothing there].”