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EDITORIAL | Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai Needs Momentum After All the Bad Press 

Though Expo 2025 is facing delays and soaring costs, the government must communicate to the public the expo's appeal as a "testing ground for a future society."



Participants in Osaka-Kansai Expo "500 Days to Go" event on November 30 are ready for company, including the official Expo mascot "Myaku-Myaku." (©Sankei Shimbun)

It is now less than 500 days until the opening of Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai. Advance ticket sales have begun and an overview of the venue's major facilities has been released. The public search for a nickname has also begun. 

About 28.2 million visitors are expected to visit the fair, according to the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition. However, as of now public interest in the event remains low. That is probably because of problems with preparing for the event. Delays in the preparation of overseas pavilions and inflated costs, for example, are in the news every day.

The government needs to carefully address the public's concerns. Organizers should explain once again the goals of Expo 2025 and actively communicate the event's appeal to build momentum. 

The Countdown clock shows "500 days" left until the opening of Expo 2025. On November 30 in the Osaka Prefectural Office. (©Kyodo)

A Dream Plan

The Osaka-Kansai Expo will open on April 13, 2025, on the manmade Yumeshima ("Dream Island") in Osaka Bay. Its theme is "Designing Future Society for Our Lives." 

At present, 159 countries and regions are scheduled to participate. In addition, with over 100 pavilions planned, the government expects the economic ripple effect to reach approximately ¥2 trillion JPY ($13.6 billion USD). 

Virtual venues will be reproduced with 3D computer graphics in an online space. Plus, there are plans for events that fuse the real and virtual worlds. Ideally, in line with the concept of the fair becoming a "testing ground for a future society," it will become a venue for the gathering and display of innovative approaches from around the world. 

However, due in part to delays in the preparations, the content and appeal of what will be on display have not been fully communicated both domestically and internationally. The reality is that a series of cost overruns have put a damper on the event's momentum. 

Construction work progressing on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka City that will be the venue for the 2025 Osaka/Kansai Expo. On October 31 (© Sankei by Shigeru Amari)

Soaring Costs Dampen Support

The initial estimate for the construction cost of the venue was approximately ¥125 billion JPY ($851 million USD). However, this was increased to ¥185 billion JPY ($1.26 billion USD) three years ago. Then in November, it was further raised to ¥235 billion JPY ($1.6 billion USD) due to soaring material and labor costs. 

As if that were not bad enough, it was also revealed that the government will bear ¥83.7 billion JPY ($570 million USD) in expenses other than venue construction costs. 


The breakdown of those costs includes expenditures for the construction of the Japan Pavilion. It also includes support for exhibitors from developing countries, security for the event, and promotional activities to build momentum. 

Furthermore, infrastructure-related costs, including those for shuttle buses, are expected to balloon. 

A panel featuring "Myak Myak" announces advanced ticket sales are beginning in Umeda, Osaka, on November 30th (©Kyodo)

Clearing a Path Forward

The total cost of the Expo has not yet been finalized. Therefore, the overall picture of the national government's share of expenses remains unclear. 

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said, "It is important to present the whole picture to the public in a transparent manner." As the Prime Minister said, the government needs to provide a clear outline and thoroughly explain the situation. 

Since Japan as a country bid for the right to hold the expo, national prestige is at stake. It is now too late to cancel or delay the event. Instead, we should all pull together to guide Expo 2025 to success by uniting hearts and minds from throughout the world to envision a livable future society.


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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