The host city for World Expo 2025 is set to be named in November.
I don’t know any other word than “exciting” to describe my enthusiasm for World Expo 2025. I’m really looking forward to seeing a turning point of culture and history in 2025.
I learned about World Expo 1970 in Osaka in a book when I was a middle school student. It is quite interesting that one exposition after another have showcased futuristic technologies, many of which that have subsequently become commonplace. For example, [the 1970 exposition] introduced a wireless telephone — a precursor of mobile telephones — as well as a family restaurant and a moving walkway. Though they are common in today’s society, they were showcased as “dream” technologies.
What does Japan propose featuring in the 2025 exposition?
We envisage using Yumeshima (Dream Island), a man-made island in Osaka Bay, as the expo site to exhibit a variety of solutions to challenges common to all human beings. They will include solutions to realize Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs (*1) by applying advanced technologies for medical care and health care, among others.
If Osaka is chosen as the host city, it will be the first world exposition to be held in Japan in 20 years since World Expo 2005 in Aichi Prefecture.
＊1 SDGs : Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by a United Nations summit in September 2015 as the worldwide development agenda to be pursued over a 15-year period until 2030. The blueprint for a better and sustainable future for mankind comprises 17 goals, including those for quality education and sustainable industries with technological innovation, and 169 specific targets.
Osaka’s proposed main theme for the 2025 event is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” Can you elaborate on the theme?
Japan is widely known as a country of longevity. It is also clean and safe. One of the SDGs calls for “access to safe water and sanitation” for all people in the world. In this field, Japan does have high-level technology. I want Japan to take advantage of World Expo 2025 to demonstrate to the rest of the world its achievements in efforts to solve various SDG-related challenges ahead of other countries.
To achieve the theme, Japan envisions “the People’s Living Lab,” a unique concept for the 2025 exposition.
I hear that the Japanese proposal includes a plan to set up a future-oriented pavilion where a creative mechanism for “full participation” by all people in the world with the aid of social media. To that end, there will be an open platform for dialogue and interaction between on-site participants and anyone elsewhere on the planet. They will be able to jointly think of and develop solutions to various global challenges, such as environmental hazards, energy shortages and natural disasters, among others, by employing state-of-the-art technologies and unique ideas.
In 1970, what was called an “Ultrasonic Bath” or “human washing machine” was unveiled. To date, no such technology has been made available. Imagine how comfortable we would be if we’re feeling tired and such a dream comes true. I hope that Expo 2025 Osaka will provide a chance for as many dreams as possible to come true.
Pokémon characters are playing a role in supporting Osaka’s World Expo 2025 bid.
All Pokémon characters are cute and unique. Those fictional species are so diverse that they are compatible with the World Expo concept of realizing an inclusive, diverse society for everyone. During my musical performances abroad, audiences usually smile when I talk about Pokémon characters. I want both children and adults to join Pikachu and enthusiastically prepare for World Expo 2025.
What kind of year do you expect to have in 2025?
I think there will be a big difference between a situation in which we will have World Expo 2025 in Osaka and that in which we will simply usher in another new year without a World Expo. If Osaka is designated as the host city for the 2025 exposition, we will be able to set a variety of goals, including ones to see a major turning point of culture and history and get involved in the organization of the event.
For children, an Expo 2025 in Osaka will be a catalyst to live with many aspirations and hopes for their future. I’ll continue doing my utmost to help Osaka successfully bid to host World Expo 2025.
The 170-nation Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will hold a general assembly in Paris on Nov. 23 to choose the host city for World Expo 2025 by vote.
Osaka, the central Russian city of Ekaterinburg and the Azerbaijan capital of Baku have bid to host the exposition. If one of them garners two-thirds of votes cast by member states in the first round of voting, they will be announced as the winner. If no candidate wins outright, the top two candidates will move into a second round of voting without the one that earned the fewest first-round votes. The candidate garnering the majority of votes cast will win the right to host World Expo 2025.
Considering that Africa and Europe have many BIE member states — 49 and 47, respectively — their ballots are likely to influence the forthcoming result.
Under the Paris Convention of 1928 on international exhibitions, there are two types of international expositions: large ones termed “registered” expos that are held every five years and smaller ones called “recognized” or “specialized” expos. Osaka hosted World Expo 1970, which was the first registered fair organized in Japan, drawing about 64.2 million visitors. It was followed by three recognized fairs — Ocean Expo 1975 in Okinawa Prefecture, Tsukuba Expo 1985, which specialized in science and technology, and the 1990 International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Osaka.
Aichi Prefecture then hosted a registered fair, World Expo 2005. If Osaka is designated as the host city of World Expo 2025, it will be the first registered exposition to be brought to Japan in 20 years. Investment returns earned by the Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund of the Kansai Osaka 21st Century Association are being utilized for Osaka’s bidding activities for World Expo 2025.
Messages from business leaders
Sharing future vision of society
By Sadayuki Sakakibara
Chairman of the 2025 Japan World Expo Committee and Honorary Chair of Keidanren
We, Japan, aim to realize a future society called “Society 5.0, (*2)” where people’s lives and society are optimized by making full use of innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, and robots to solve global issues.It would be exactly the embodiment of a society in which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been achieved.
We believe that the 2025 World Expo Osaka, Kansai is the perfect occasion to share this vision of a future society in which global challenges including health care, environment, energy and resources, are solved with people from all over the world.We wish to be the front runner in finding solutions to SDGs, for our own development as well as that of the whole world. We would appreciate very much your continued support.
＊2 Society 5.0 : This is a concept defined by the Japanese government’s Fifth Five-year Science and Technology Basic Plan as “a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems” by utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, among others.
Impetus for further growth
By Masayoshi Matsumoto
Chairman of Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren)
In the coming three years, Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2021 World Masters Games in the Kansai region. To enable the country to continue enjoying sustainable growth after those sporting events, we need a new economic impetus. World Expo 2025 is expected to serve exactly as such an impetus, with an increase in inbound tourists and the furthering of economic exchanges with foreign countries, stimulating further growth not only in Kansai but also across the country.
As we should not let World Expo 2025 come and go as a one-off event, we would like to have in-depth discussions on what we should leave as a legacy for future generations. In that process, we will listen to young people, who will forge the future of our society.
Youth-centric advance to future
By Hiroshi Ozaki
Chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Japan epitomizes various challenges that some foreign countries have already encountered and others will encounter from now on. A World Expo will be a good opportunity to take inventory of and showcase to the rest of the world methods and technologies that Japan has developed and applied to cope with such challenges.
A World Expo will also draw a large number of people from all over the world, enabling them to have hands-on observation of and firsthand experience with various new things. They will think of new ideas and exchange opinions with other participants in an environment that will encourage them to devise more ideas and spread them to the rest of the world. I want young people to play a key role in the World Expo’s content creation process in a way that is as future-oriented as possible.
Integrating mankind’s wisdom
By Hiroyuki Ikeda
Kansai Association of Corporate Executives (Kansai Keizai Doyukai)
Can Japan continue revitalizing in the years to come as it has one of the fastest-aging populations in the world?
With this question in mind, the Expo 2025 Osaka plan will turn the exposition site into a laboratory where mankind’s wisdom, ranging from biotechnology to artificial intelligence, will be integrated to provide visitors from all over the world with a first-of-its-kind social experiment, in which they will be able to discern prospects for the future.
I’m already looking beyond 2025. I hope that the proposed World Expo location will be redeveloped, for example, as a major concentration of advanced medical, nursing and health care services, and thus continue drawing attention from the world, even after the 2025 event.
Messages from Expo 2025 supporters
Enhancing issue-solving capability
By Dai Tamesue
A former Olympic track athlete and CEO of Deportare Partners
I remember that when I talked with athletes from other countries at the Olympic villages [in 2000, 2004 and 2008], I realized that all of them were suffering from one injury or another and struggling with pressure. As I was able to share such experiences with them, I felt really encouraged by them.
Today, Japan has a fast-aging population and many other issues. As such, we tend to think that only Japanese society is having such difficulties. But it is obvious that other countries will face similar problems in the not-too-distant future. This means that Japan will be in a good position to let other countries adopt the solutions Japan is currently adopting by coping with various social issues ahead of the rest of the world.Personal experiences will be definitely applicable to people in some other countries. I believe that it is very meaningful for the world as well to bring World Expo 2025 to Japan, given that our country has many issues to solve.
Opening door for next generations
By Naomi Kawase
Assuming that Osaka is chosen to host World Expo 2025, I think the event should offer experiences that will be eventually passed down to future generations in the 21st century and beyond. There must be a specific vision that will be suitable to deliver such a goal. We also need artists playing one key role or another in realizing the goal.
The vision should reflect the belief in the existence of something important that can emerge only when we are free of any boundaries. I mean that the door for the next generations can be opened when we become prepared to pass the baton by making society inclusive and humbly recognizing ourselves as one of the species that exist on Earth beyond time and space.
World Expo 2025 will become more attractive if it can conceptualize and appeal to the word “truths” that exist between “yes” and “no” answers that determine the ways society should structure itself.
For positive, exciting future
By Tomotaka Takahashi
Robot scientist, president of Robo-Garage and Research Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology
I took part in the projects to showcase robots at Expo 2005 Aichi and Expo 2010 Shanghai. I have developed a robotic communication device named RoBoHoN. In 2025, the device may become much smaller — small enough to supersede smartphones — with each of us living with a robot.
I imagine that visitors to World Expo 2025 will be guided to each national pavilion with “my robots” accompanying each of them. I want to develop a super robot capable of combining music and video technologies and interacting with an audience on the stage. In other words, I want to involve myself in superb composite art by fusing digital technology and Japanese culture.
I want to show a positive and exciting future to help foster next-generation talent.
■ Vol.2 Osaka-Kansai Expo Bid Expo gateway to social reform solutions
The Paris-headquartered Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will hold a general assembly on Nov. 23 to designate the host city for World Expo 2025. There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in Japan for organizing Expo 2025 Osaka. As part of the “all-Japan” efforts toward a successful World Expo bid, Hiroshi Ozaki, chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), and media artist Yoichi Ochiai recently sat down together to share their opinions on the significance of bringing the world exposition to Osaka, to provide solutions to challenges to society and usher in a better future. SEE MORE≫