Osaka has confirmed that its continuing integrated resort ambitions remain on pause amid current uncertainty regarding the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to a number of delays to the publication of the country’s ‘Basic Policy Plan,’ reports GGRAsia.

With Japan’s basic policy said to have been revised several times, and uncertainty of when a final publication date will arrive still looming, under the current circumstances it is reported that the region would find it “difficult to proceed” with its request for proposal process.

The Osaka prefecture and city has now followed the lead of Yokohama in stating that it will wait to see the basic IR policy of the government, as well as assessing the COVID-19 impacts, before determining a strategy to move forward.

“Under the coronavirus situation, the process related to IR has been suspended from the time when previously the prefecture and city announced the postponement of the RFP submission deadline, on June 23,” Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Japan’s Osaka prefecture, is quoted as saying.

When the process does resume, however, it will be done so alongside MGM Resorts International, who are fronting the only bid on the table, with Yoshimura stating that it has “maintained its positive, forward-looking stances” on an Osaka IR.

The Las Vegas-based casino and hospitality operator is in partnership with Japanese financial services group Orix Corp, and has consistently asserted confidence in its ‘Osaka First’ policy.

Following a series of drop-outs announced earlier this year, MGM shot into prime position to win one of three IR licenses that were expected to be granted by the national government next year.

Previous competition in the region was thought to be coming from Galaxy Entertainment Group, Genting Singapore, Las Vegas Sands, Melco Resorts and Entertainment and Wynn Resorts.

MGM has previously vowed to “develop a truly unique destination that will generate significant economic activity for the region and increase employment opportunities while delivering an attractive return for all stakeholders”.