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INTERVIEW | Shinji Inoue: Why Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025’s Timing is Good Despite Pandemic’s Challenges

The global event will offer many possibilities to help society in the future, while also showcasing beneficial innovations for Japan and the world.

Mizuki Okada

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The Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025 is coming up in a few years. What should we be expecting from it? JAPAN Forward and The Sankei Shimbun asked Shinji Inoue, the minister in charge of the Osaka-Kansai Expo 2025, in an exclusive interview on Monday, March 1, at Kasumigaseki in Tokyo. 

Minister Inoue explained why the timing is good for hosting the global event, despite the global challenges presented by the pandemic. He said that the Expo would offer many possibilities to help society in the future, while also showcasing beneficial innovations for Japan and the world. 

RELATED: INTERVIEW | Japan Not Losing Sight of Expo 2025 Despite Pandemic — Minister Inoue

Excerpts of Minister Inoue’s comments follow.

On Pushing Through Despite the Pandemic

While people’s minds are inclined to be murky due to the coronavirus turmoil, it is good for Japanese citizens to move forward with the [preparations for the Osaka-Kansai] Expo, which showcases hopes and dreams. 

The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games coming soon this summer and the Expo are the two greatest national projects. I would like to utilize the opportunity of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo to launch a successful Expo.

Minister Shinji Inoue

On Showcasing Japan’s Science and Technology

The main theme is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” With it, people’s attention turns toward life sciences, including countermeasures against infections, which are increasing. And so I believe the timing [for hosting the Expo 2025] is extremely good. 

The Expo is a place which can be used to highlight the appeal of Japan’s preeminent science and technology in fields such as the life sciences.

Soichi Noguchi and Akihiko Hoshide, those Japanese astronauts are participating actively [in aerospace fields]. I hope to see a good exhibition related to the space sciences at the Expo.

RELATED: Japanese Astronaut Noguchi, SpaceX Team Lift Off for International Space Station

On Sustainable Development Goals as Exhibition Focus 

The year of the Expo will be just five years before we have pledged to attain Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. We are asking [possible] pavilion exhibitors to choose one out of the 17 goals [of SDGs] to focus on in their exhibitions.

Carbon neutral Japan and digitization are top priority issues of the national government, so I would like to accelerate those policies through the Expo. 

On Encouraging Innovations

[On the prospect of] Flying automobiles, when do you launch something that has not yet been invented in the world? Development of compatible legal systems would be one of the problems. I would like to discuss how to relax regulations, and what budgetary measures [are needed] with related ministries [to encourage innovation].

We should not be bound to past examples, or hindered by vertical sectioning of the ministerial system, but we should challenge something new ー without any fear of failure. For those achievements, it is important to have the public’s understanding. If people have those expectations, the Expo must attain success.”

On Expo 2025’s Possible Legacy

I’m an advertising pillar standing at the front. We want to foster the Expo in such a way that people, even a half a century later, would recall it and say, “It was superb.” That would make me happy.

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Author: Mizuki Okada

Mizuki Okada is a staff writer at the political news department of The Sankei Shimbun where she works on her coverage of the Kantei, the Japanese Prime Minister's office and the Japanese Ministry of Foregin Affairs. As a staff writer, she also works for JAPAN Forward. She previously covered the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism at the economic news department. Before that, she posted international relations news covering mainly about the United States and Indo-Pacific region at the international news department of The Sankei Shimbun. Before joining journalism, she spent her career at a Japanese megabank as a corporate banking officer in Tokyo.