In Japan, the boss for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited has reportedly declared that his firm could be forced to import up to 20,000 foreign workers if it was to be given the right to operate one of the nation’s coming integrated casino resorts.

Importing ‘foreign expertise’:

According to a Thursday report from Nikkei Asian Review, Lawrence Ho Yau Lung (pictured) serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Hong Kong-based giant and stated that ‘foreign expertise’ would be needed to open any Japanese casino because the industry ‘does not still exist’ in the Asian nation of some 126 million people.

Fierce competition:

Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited is reportedly competing with a slew of other foreign gambling firms including the likes of MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Galaxy Entertainment Group for the right to operate one of a trio of planned integrated casino resorts, which were legalized following July’s ratification of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill.

Successful track record:

Forty-two-year-old Ho reportedly declared that his firm would be looking to duplicate the procedures it followed in successfully entering the markets of Macau and the Philippines but that eventually most of the workforce inside any Japanese integrated casino resort it ran would be local.

Ho reportedly told Nikkei Asian Review…

“The bulk of employees will [eventually] be Japanese but at the same time it is unrealistic to say so from the beginning as the industry does not still exist in Japan. We will need to bring in foreign expertise just like how we did in Macau and Manila. We expect employees of between 10,000 and 20,000 will be needed so we need help on [the] immigration side. As part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reform packages, labor immigration is a key one.”

Immigration reforms:

In mentioning Abe, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Ho was referring to proposed immigration reforms that were passed by the nation’s lower House of Representatives on November 27. These controversial measures are purportedly expected to be ratified by the upper House of Councillors next week in order to give Japanese firms in 14 designated industries, which would include construction, hotels and restaurants, the ability to import a total of up to 345,150 foreign workers over the course of the next five years.

Critics of the proposed reforms have reportedly argued that the nation is at risk of being flooded by immigrants although proponents have countered by pointing out that Japan is home to a rapidly ageing society and that it suffers from a serious lack of workers.

Promising $10 billion investment:

For his part, Ho reportedly told Nikkei Asian Review that Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited is planning to invest ‘more than $10 billion’ in Japan should it win the race to operate one of the nation’s three integrated casino resorts. He moreover purportedly proclaimed that this amount would represent one of the largest single outlays the sector has ever made and that his firm is especially interested in basing any such facility in either Yokohama or Osaka.

Ho reportedly told Nikkei Asian Review…

“Anything less than building the greatest integrated resort ever built would be a shame.”