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HK asset firm declines comment on Huis Ten Bosch reports

A possible purchase of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park (pictured), adjacent to the mooted site for a casino resort in Nagasaki prefecture, has been linked in several Japanese media reports on Friday to PAG, a Hong Kong-based private asset management firm.

GGRAsia approached PAG on Monday regarding the mention of its name in relation to Huis Ten Bosch. PAG said “we don’t have any comment” on the reports.

In 2019, the operator of Huis Ten Bosch and the governments of Nagasaki Prefecture and Sasebo City, the relevant local authorities, announced an agreement to designate part of the land and buildings of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park as a candidate site for an integrated resort (IR) including a casino.

According to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, the site earmarked for the IR has public-road access that is independent of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park itself.

Nagasaki’s proposal for a casino resort was submitted to Japan’s national government in late April. Its private-sector partner is a unit of Casinos Austria International.

The only other contender for a Japanese IR is Osaka prefecture and city. Up to three such facilities were to have been permitted under liberalisation arrangements.

According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, the national government is likely to come to a decision on the two applications by the autumn.

Separate civil groups in Osaka and Nagasaki have made recent moves challenging aspects of the casino resort policy respectively in those conurbations.

The Huis Ten Bosch theme park is operated by Huis Ten Bosch Co, a subsidiary of Japan-based HIS Co Ltd. The facility – located in Sasebo – replicates famous buildings and architecture from the Netherlands, but in a semi-rural Japanese setting.

Earlier last week it had been reported that the HIS Co side was mulling a sell-off.

On Friday, several Japanese media outlets said – citing sources that they did not identify – that PAG was a suitor, and that the considered disposal by the current controllers of the site was due to losses amid the disruption to travel and tourism linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. PAG was previously an investor in Universal Studios Japan, a theme park based in Osaka.

Huis Ten Bosch Co controls 66.7 percent of the theme park, according to the Asahi Shimbun news outlet.

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