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EDITORIAL | Fast-Approaching Osaka-Kansai Expo Needs All Hands on Deck 

For the Osaka-Kansai Expo to succeed, national and local entities must strengthen their collaboration to raise the level of public and international enthusiasm.



Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 venue in Yumeshima = Konohana Ward, Osaka City, June 27, 2025 (© Sankei by Shigeru Amari, from the helicopter of the head office)

There are less than two years until the grand opening of the Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025. Meanwhile, pavilion construction for the event is facing significant delays. Now, an all-of-Japan united effort is needed, given the Expo's national importance and its theme of "Designing Future Society for Our Lives."

A major concern lies in the construction of pavilions by other countries. Out of the 153 countries and regions saying they will participate, approximately 50 intend to handle their pavilion construction independently. Apparently, they will do so without signing contracts with Japanese general contractors. Preliminary approvals for only one construction project have been completed so far.

The delay in concluding contracts could potentially lead to slower construction preparations. This poses a further risk to the Expo's opening timeline. Thus, it is crucial to intensify engagement with countries that are acting slowly.

Representatives of countries planning to exhibit pavilions visit the Osaka-Kansai Expo site in Yumeshima in the morning of June 7, Konohana Ward, Osaka City. (© Sankei by Shigeru Amari)

The Impact of COVID Delays

Previously, the Dubai Expo was postponed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, this time countries have a shorter time to prepare their participation. Additional issues have also compounded the challenges. These are events like Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, and the surge in material prices.

In the face of the uncertainties facing construction companies, the government announced the creation of Expo Trade Insurance on August 2. This insurance aims to reduce the risks for construction companies — for example, the risk of non-payment on a contract. 

This insurance is intended to encourage companies to enter into construction agreements with outside parties. Creating a favorable environment for the success of domestic companies is essential for the host country.

Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 venue in Yumeshima = Konohana Ward, Osaka City, June 27, 2025 (© Sankei by Shigeru Amari, from the helicopter of the head office)

Also a Labor Shortage

Another issue has the potential to exacerbate the labor shortage in the construction business in the next fiscal year. It is the amended Labor Standards Act, which comes into effect with limits on overtime work. It is already dubbed the "2024 Problem." 

However, it is important to note that the labor law does allow exceptions to the maximum regulations. While prioritizing the health and well-being of workers, maintaining flexibility in dealing with overtime work and finding suitable solutions is crucial.

Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura. (©Sankei by Yasuhiro Yajima)

Showcasing the Latest Technological Innovations

To ensure success, the government, Japan Association for the 2025 World Expo, Osaka Prefecture, and Osaka City must strengthen their collaboration. This will only work if they innovate together to devise new approaches to venue construction and working practices.

The 1970 Osaka Expo served as a platform to showcase cutting-edge technologies. In positioning the 2025 Expo as an experimental field for future society, there are high expectations for technological innovations. That includes the use of cost-effective and rapidly constructed 3D-printed buildings.

Originally budgeted at around ¥1.25 trillion JPY ($8.75 billion USD), the venue construction cost was increased to approximately ¥1.85 trillion JPY ($13 billion USD) three years ago. Now, concerns about further escalation are rising. 

To evenly distribute the burden, the government, Osaka Prefecture and City, and the business community will each contribute. Public funds will cover two-thirds of the cost. Therefore, the public's support and understanding is crucial. It is important for everyone to come together and create a captivating Expo.


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun


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