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INTERVIEW | Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025: Anticipation Rising with One Year to Go

As the clock ticks down, Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 Deputy Chair Masayoshi Matsumoto talks about the building anticipation and his insider expectations.



Masayoshi Matsumoto, Chair of the Kansai Economic Federation sits down for an interview on April 4. At the Sumitomo Electric Industries headquarters in Osaka. (© Sankei by Akiko Niboshi)

Japan's Kansai region is hosting the international Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025, a six-month event starting April 13, 2025. Initial plans were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the war in Ukraine and the rise in construction costs. However, progress toward completing the massive project is proceeding more smoothly now. 

With one year to go, The Sankei Shimbun and JAPAN Forward sat down with Masayoshi Matsumoto, Deputy Chair of the event and chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation, to better understand where the project stands. He shared the participants' deep sense of excitement as the event approaches. 

Excerpts follow.

Observing Expo's Development from the Start

I have been involved in the Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 journey since the early bidding stages. It is deeply moving to realize we are finally just a year away from the grand opening. 

Along the way, we have witnessed societal shifts and faced skepticism about hosting the event. Nevertheless, with steady progress on the venue construction, there is a growing sense of hope. It feels like we are on track for an expo filled with promise.

Masayoshi Matsumoto, Chair of the Kansai Economic Federation in an interview on April 4 in Osaka. (© Sankei by Akiko Niboshi)

Expo Management and Economic Impact Strategies

Generating excitement is a key challenge. It is also closely tied to ticket sales, much like two sides of a coin. Ticket revenue primarily goes toward venue operation costs. For successful expo management, it is essential to cultivate enthusiasm and ensure effective ticket sales strategies. We will ramp up our publicity campaign from September to November, coinciding with the start of pavilion reservations.

Venue designer Sou Fujimoto explains the theme and concept for the Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 at the International Participants Meeting on November 14, 2023. (© Sankei by Kan Emori)

This expo also extends beyond Yumeshima in Osaka, encompassing pavilions and events and cultivating related projects. I think we can expect positive economic and cultural effects.

The Osaka-based think tank Asia Pacific Research Institute projects that economic ripple effects from the expo could top ¥33.67 trillion JPY ($217 billion USD). This can drive growth across the Kansai region. Importantly, each prefecture can use the expo as a base to amplify its own revitalization plans.

In preparation for the expo, infrastructure development, including startup support and initiatives like MaaS, ("Mobility as a Service") is progressing in Kansai. We hope these contribute to revitalizing not only Kansai but all of Japan.


JR Osaka Station's north-side redevelopment area, the Umekita 2nd Project GRAND GREEN OSAKA, will host a pre-opening event in September. This area is anticipated to become an innovation hub, nurturing new businesses and technologies and potentially synergizing with the expo.

Representatives of countries planning to exhibit pavilions visit the Osaka-Kansai Expo site in Yumeshima in the morning of June 7, 2023 in Konohana Ward, Osaka City. (© Sankei by Shigeru Amari)
Construction work was progressing on October 31, 2023 at Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka City and the venue for the 2025 Osaka/Kansai Expo. (© Sankei by Shigeru Amari)

Venue Construction and Timeline Management

Some have voiced concerns about the construction progress at the expo venue, mainly due to delays in building foreign pavilions. However, with the cooperation of construction companies, the building work on the Grand Roof (Ring) and domestic pavilions is proceeding smoothly.

Once the ring is fully connected, construction vehicle access will be difficult due to logistical difficulties. Therefore, pavilions located within the ring must be completed by mid-October. This will ensure that the ring is completed on schedule. We at the Japan International Exposition Association must communicate closely with exhibitors and facilitate their final construction efforts.


(Read the interview in Japanese.)

Author: Kohei Inoue