A 143.3 hectare area of Osaka’s Yumeshima island has been approved for commercial use, marking a significant milestone in the prefecture’s efforts to develop an integrated resort on the site.The Osaka City Planning Council agreed to the change from industrial and semi-industrial to commercial use on Tuesday as part of the administrative procedures required to promote the artificial island as an international tourist hub. Yumeshima is already set to host World Expo 2025 after being confirmed as the event’s location earlier this year.According to the city, the area subject to change is currently zoned as semi-industrial (107.7 hectares) and industrial zoning (35.6 hectares). This will ease the ratio of area and building coverage, and permit large scale facilities to be built. A circular roadway is also scheduled to be built in 2024 on the Northern part of Yumeshima, which is considered the candidate location for IRs.The new zoning includes restrictions regarding the operation of schools and sex establishments in the area.“We will guide reasonable land usage for the purpose of creating a new international tourism hub on the coastal area which can be easily accessed from the city and where a large amount of land can be secured,” the Council said.The city is predicting development of Yumeshima to cost JPY95.4 billion. In addition to land reclamation, it intends to extend the Osaka Metro Central Line, connecting Yumeshima to the city, and has gained informal consent that JPY20 billion will be contributed by Osaka’s chosen IR operator.Opposition from a group called “Citizens Roundtable Thinking About Change for Yumeshima City’s Plan” cited concerns over the risk of tsunami and soil liquefaction caused by earthquakes at the Nankai Trough, the risk of soil pollution and impact on the ecosystem, which includes endangered birds.