Expo-focused talk by OCCI chair Hiroshi Ozaki & media artist Yoichi Ochiai


(left)Hiroshi Ozaki is chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI). Born in 1950, he graduated from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Engineering. In 1972, he joined Osaka Gas Co., where he served as the director of the gas production and power generation business and the director of the energy business, among other posts, before becoming president and representative director in 2008. He has been chairman and representative director since April 2015. He has concurrently served as chairman of the OCCI since December 2015.

(right)Yoichi Ochiai is a media artist at the University of Tsukuba, where he is an associate professor and an advisor to the university’s president. Born in 1987, he completed a doctoral course at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies. In 2015, he won the U.S.-based World Technology Network’s World Technology Award in IT hardware. In 2016, his work was given an honorary mention in Europe’s Ars Electronica STARTS Prize competition. He is active in a variety of fields, including the media sector where he comments on various matters.

Valuable information a must

What is the significance of organizing a World Expo in Japan?

Ozaki: The proposed main theme for Expo 2025 Osaka is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” Japan’s bid plan emphasizes the importance of the quinquennial event as “the People’s Living Lab.” We want to turn it into a place where participants will be able to explore as many clues as possible to solve numerous challenges to the world by utilizing all the technology and knowledge available in Japan. Now that we can instantaneously exchange information thanks to the advancement of ICT (information and communication technology), it will no longer be meaningful to organize a World Expo just in terms of exhibiting a wealth of novel things collected from all over the world. We have to devise a new mode of making expo participants aspire to proactively take part in the problem-solving process.

Ochiai: I agree. If a World Expo is an occasion for us to conceive the future, I want it to show us how to solve social challenges with new technologies. I really want to see a set of concrete solutions at Expo 2025 Osaka.

 In 2025, we will be definitely using 5G, the next-generation mobile network, which will dramatically improve the speed of smartphone communication. This means we’ll have an age in which people may not bother to physically go to one place or another without good reasons to do so. In other words, the key to a World Expo’s success is to provide what I call “high-resolution” content or a program filled with truly breakthrough information that will be available at no other place than the expo site for first-hand, on-site experience.

Utilizing strength of Osaka

Can you give some examples of the one-of-a-kind features Osaka-Kanai proposes showcasing in 2025?

 Ozaki: Osaka and other parts of the Kansai region are collectively known for the concentration of university and private-sector research institutes actively pursuing studies on advanced medical solutions, including research on iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells to realize applications in drug discovery and regenerative medicine. Many well-known pharmaceutical companies and sporting goods manufacturers have their head offices in Kansai. I am therefore confident that when we put together the expertise and experience of those universities and companies as the strength of the region, we will be able to offer Expo 2025 Osaka’s thematic solutions — solutions to live comfortable lives and stay healthy as long as possible.

Ochiai: I personally want Expo 2025 Osaka to produce and promote to the world a bustling atmosphere similar to what we enjoy in Osaka’s Minami (south) downtown. We don’t need to change the way people have lived their everyday lives through the ages — I mean we don’t need to change the beauty of Japan. What we should do is to use technology to replicate the atmosphere of Minami in a global and barrier-free setting at the expo. Just imagine that you enter a long-standing yakitori restaurant dating back several generations to eat grilled, skewered chicken tidbits and that your bill is settled by a smartphone-based global settlement system. If the expo site is only full of good-looking buildings with smooth outer walls, expo-goers will get bored with the expo itself.

Ozaki: In recent years, tourists coming from abroad have often reminded us of one local attraction after another that we, the local residents, had hardly discovered on our own. It is important for Expo 2025 Osaka to present features that are really attractive in terms of content and software application, rather than the magnificence of architecture. We will be thrilled if a huge number of people around the world “participate” in various Osaka expo events online. That would be more interesting than guessing the possible total on-site attendance.

In tandem with tech progress

What do you expect of Expo 2025 Osaka?

Ochiai: We are now in the 30th year of the Heisei era, the penultimate year, as it is set to end in March 2019. Japan has suffered a prolonged period of stagnant growth throughout the Heisei era. Nordic design embracing simplicity has been acclaimed in the field of art and design, for instance, but this trend has been invigorated from outside Japan. I think it’s important to redefine Japanese-ness and present the attractiveness of Japan as a new concept and in a new context at Expo 2025 Osaka. In 2025, we should convince the rest of the world that we will be moving forward, with the Heisei era far behind us. Finally, I want Expo 2025 Osaka to be an opportunity for us to bring the “hope of growth.”

Ozaki: When Osaka hosted World Expo 1970, its theme was “Progress and Harmony for Mankind.” For World Expo 2025, we propose a theme of “Advance with the Advancement ” of technology, As the average lifespan has continued increasing, there are many centenarians. We want to organize Expo 2025 Osaka as a venue for everyone in the world to share a dynamic, future-oriented stance, based on advanced technologies, knowledge and energy, to enable human beings to keep evolving until the age of 99 at least. I hope Japan will be chosen in November to host World Expo 2025. Once designated to host the event, we will do our best to deliver what we propose in our bid plan. We will present an unprecedented new vision of society.

World Expo 2025 candidates

 The 170-nation Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will hold a general assembly in Paris on Nov. 23 to choose the host nation for World Expo 2025 by vote. Russia, Azerbaijan and Japan have bid to organize the exposition in Ekaterinburg, Baku and Osaka, respectively. If Japan is designated as the host country, the 2025 exposition will be held on the man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka from May 3 to Nov. 3 of the year, with a total of about 28 million people expected to visit the six-month event.
 In the early years of the World Expo’s history, each exposition was held mostly to enhance the host country’s national prestige. In recent years, World Expos have become a key international “problem-solving” platform to pursue global agendas by utilizing wisdom from all over the world. The theme of the proposed Expo 2025 Osaka is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.”

Messages from Expo 2025 Osaka supporters

Enthrall future scientists
By Shinya Yamanaka
World Expo Special Envoy, Director and Professor of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University

 When I got elated by the limitless potential of iPS cells, a memory came back to me from the long past. It was a scene dating back to when I was 8. On a hot summer day, I was surrounded by many achievements of science exhibited at Expo 1970 Osaka. I was then inspired that science must be the key that would open the doors to the world of wonders and the never-ending mystery of life sometime in the future. The experience remains in my heart as the foundation as a scientist. Kansai, which has a concentration of research institutes and laboratories, is known as an area where many outstanding scientists, including more than 10 Nobel laureates, have emerged. I expect Expo 2025 Osaka to become a great laboratory that will fascinate future scientists gathering from all over the world with surprises. I will continue to work toward the success of the Osaka-Kansai expo bid.

  • 本田圭佑さん

Learn about diverse cultures
By Keisuke Honda
World Expo Special Envoy and player for Melbourne Victory FC

 When I was with Italian club AC Milan, I visited Expo 2015 Milan. It was so well-received that I thought a World Expo would be a good opportunity for people across the world to learn about each other and their cultures. If Osaka-Kansai is given the privilege of hosting World Expo 2025, it will be our great pleasure to show people from abroad how cool Osaka-Kansai is. For Japanese people, Expo 2025 Osaka will offer an amazing opportunity to know and appreciate cultures in the rest of the world, as many people are expected to come from abroad. I believe Osaka-Kansai will be named to host World Expo 2025. Please support Osaka-Kansai’s bid.

Golgo backs Osaka expo bid
By Takao Saito
Author of the ‘Golgo 13’ manga series

 This year marks the 50th anniversary of the “Golgo 13” series, which was launched in October 1968 or about 1 1/2 years ahead of the opening of Expo 1970 Osaka. I was excited by the expo as it introduced futuristic technologies such as electric cars and TV-telephones. In the Golgo 13 world, I have drawn a variety of conceptual breakthroughs in the field of science and technology, including artificial intelligence and drones, ahead of the times to help broaden readers’ imagination. In fact, there have been many scenes focusing on global environmental and energy problems. Together with Golgo 13, I hope World Expo 2025 will be held in Osaka, which is close to my hometown, bringing together wisdom from all over the world to solve challenges to mankind and transform the world into a sustainable society.

  • 森下竜一さん

Show advanced medical care
By Ryuichi Morishita
MD and Strategic Adviser to the Office of Health Care Policy of the Cabinet Secretariat

 Expo 2025 Osaka is envisioned as a great lab to show the world technologies essential to realize sustainability goals. I expect it to have a pavilion functioning as an open house to enable visitors to have first-hand experience of state-of-the-art preventive medicine and advanced medical care technologies. Through such a pavilion, Japan will be able to show the world the latest state of health care in our country and learn how it should further contribute to the world in the field of health care. In addition to physical attendance, people around the world are expected to be connected online to the Osaka expo.
 After the expo, it will be advisable to turn the pavilion into a hospital serving as a hub for medical tourism.

Aiming to open youth pavilion
By Nanako Ono
3rd-year student at the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies of Kyoto University

 I am a member of a volunteer-based project aiming to realize a “WAKAZO” (youngster) pavilion in Expo 2025 Osaka. As I contact young people abroad via social media, I realize that there are various problems that countries must tackle. My project colleagues are highly motivated to participate in the efforts to solve those problems. We aim to build a pavilion for young people, including those who live in small countries that cannot afford to open their national expo pavilions. Young people will be invited to put together their problem-solving ideas.
 I study death at my university, so I’m intrigued by the theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives” for Expo 2025 Osaka.

Globalize J-entertainment
By Sayaka Yamamoto
Member of all-female idol group NMB48

 I imagine a World Expo as an event that connects us o the world and the future as well.
 Osaka continues to be full of energy, as the city keeps attracting a large number of people from abroad. I want people coming to Expo 2025 Osaka to know much more about the charm of Osaka-Kansai — there are bustling downtown areas with cool people — and have many occasions to experience the glamor of Japanese songs and Japanese entertainment.
 Personally, I will leave NMB48 as of Oct. 27 this year. After that, I will continue to be a singer-songwriter, further studying music and foreign languages. I want to keep singing songs that everybody can identify with.

  • ニャンブ・ナサニエル・ムペ さん

Linking Japan and Kenya
By Nyambu Nathaniel Mupe
Kenyan student at Doshiha University Graduate School of Science and Engineering

 I am studying at Doshisha University as a JICA long-term training program participant. It is well-known in my country that Japanese people are highly disciplined and cooperative. In Japan, not only large companies but also small- and medium-sized enterprises develop superb technologies and manufacture excellent products. Nonetheless, this fact remains little known in Kenya. Also, in my view, Japanese companies have not tapped the Kenyan market sufficiently.
 I want Expo 2025 Osaka to become a one-stop learning spot for Kenyans to understand how advanced Japanese technologies are and how livable Japanese society is. My dream is to create a business network between Kenya and Japan by getting people in both countries connected to each other.

 Vol.1 Osaka-Kansai Expo Bid Japan united for Expo 2025
 The central government and relevant entities in the Kansai region and the private sector are all intensifying their “all-Japan” efforts in the final stage of bidding to organize World Expo 2025 in Osaka. The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will hold a general assembly in November to choose the host city of the exposition. TV celebrity Shoko Nakagawa, appearing together with Pikachu, one of the most popular characters from the Pokémon video game series, talks about the World Expo’s theme and must-experience events.Nakagawa and Pikachu are special supporters for Osaka’s host-city bid. SEE MORE≫