Expo will showcase solutions to humanity’s universal challenges
On April 24, 2017, Japan presented to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to officially announce its bid as a candidate to host the 2025 World Expo. The proposed location is Osaka and Kansai, with the theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.”
Among developed countries, Japan has one of the fastest decreasing birth rates and most rapidly aging populations. The social problems related to medical treatment, healthcare, and other topics that directly face Japan today also will concern other nations. Japan is now focused on solving these problems through the implementation and application of technological prowess and social infrastructure. This makes hosting the World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai the ideal occasion to share our vision of a future society with our fellow people from all over the world.
Currently, in preparation for the BIE vote scheduled for November of next year, Japan is carrying out an ongoing nationwide promotional effort. A comprehensive presentation was given to the BIE on June 14, 2017, including a video message from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, along with footage of Japan’s technology in action and other imagery to demonstrate the appeal of the proposed theme and of the Osaka, Kansai region.
Sadayuki Sakakibara, Chairman of the 2025 Japan World Expo Committee and the Japan Business Federation, expresses his resolve in the following statement: “At present, the government and private sector in Japan are jointly promoting a national project called ‘Society 5.0.’”
“Society 5.0 is designed to realize a future where people’s lives and society are optimized by fully implementing innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, robots, and Big Data. The future society we aim to realize is a society in which global problems including medical treatment and healthcare, food and agriculture, environment and climate change, energy and resources, safety and disaster prevention, and human and gender equality, are solved. Such a society would be exactly the embodiment of a society in which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been achieved. We believe that the World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai is the perfect occasion to share this vision of a future society with our fellow people from all over the world.”
Born in 1943. Worked at Toray Industries successively as President and as Chairman of the Board. Served as President of Japan Chemical Fibers Association. Currently serves as Chairman of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), as well as Chairman of the 2025 Japan World Expo Committee.
A new model of Expo which shows ways to improve people’s lives
Dr. Shinya Hashizume
Born in 1960. Research Professor at the Graduate School of Economics at Osaka Prefecture University. Doctor of Engineering. Specialist in such fields as urban planning, architectural history, and urban cultural theory, and has extensive knowledge pertaining to exhibitions from an academic viewpoint. Also works as Special Advisor to Osaka Prefecture and the City of Osaka.
Dr. Shinya Hashizume, Chairman of the International Exhibition Osaka Planning Commission and Professor at Osaka Prefecture University, was in charge of concept development. He explains: “The World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai will present strategic solutions to humanity’s universal challenges, and be a venue that generates massive innovation by putting new ideas into practice. The Expo will test futuristic social infrastructure and become a magnificent living laboratory for each organization to showcase new technologies.”
“In the past, Expos have been structured primarily to explain new technologies in an easy-to-understand way to visitors, but this Expo will have a completely new format. Not only the pavilion areas, but the passageways and open spaces will also be included as exhibit spaces. The Expo will be operated with one unified management structure. Security will be achieved with the latest technologies, and there will be no wait times at the pavilions. By utilizing Big Data, we will be able to map out the optimal site experience plan for each visitor. High-quality entertainment will be provided at the sites, with opportunities for international exchange unlike anyone has seen before. Furthermore, by connecting the world’s people through cutting-edge information and communications technology (ICT), everyone will also be able to enjoy the exhibitions in virtual space together, and to learn from them.”
The World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai aims to be a participatory, experiential, solutions-oriented exposition based on the concept of a “People's Living Lab,” where experiences provide a starting point for people to live their lives more fully, enjoyably and healthily. “It is important that the new experiences and new discoveries at the Expo not be transient,” emphasizes Chairman Hashizume. “We want this exhibition to become a springboard for reaffirming the preciousness of life, giving people a chance to live healthier lives and achieve each of their dreams. This legacy will remain in the heart and memories of each participant. We sincerely hope to share an unforgettable experience that will move and inspire them.”
The proposed site of Yumeshima (“Dream Island”) provides exceptionally convenient access to Kansai’s popular tourist destinations in Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe.
In 1970, Osaka hosted the first World Exposition in Asia. The event was a huge success, setting an attendance record with over 60 million visitors. The Expo grounds were later turned into a park that is still loved by the local people today.
Osaka is one of Japan’s favorite tourist destinations. It features many bustling sightseeing spots such as Dotonbori and the gorgeous Osaka Castle, as well as one of Japan’s most popular theme parks: Universal Studios Japan. Going from Yumeshima to downtown Osaka currently takes about 30 minutes by car, and with the future extension of the subway system it will take about 20-30 minutes by train.
The World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai setting abounds with sightseeing attractions
An early advocate for Osaka’s candidacy, 2025 Japan World Expo Committee Deputy Chairman and Governor of Osaka Prefecture Ichiro Matsui explains, “Our starting point is the idea that Osaka is the ideal location for an Expo that focuses on how to create a society that helps people live healthier lives, and for disseminating this to the world.”
Born in 1964. Governor of Osaka Prefecture. A politician serving as Secretary-General of Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) and Osaka Ishin no Kai. After being elected for three terms to the Osaka Prefectural Assembly, he is currently serving his second term as elected Governor of Osaka Prefecture.
Kansai is a base for world-leading life sciences research facilities. For example, Kyoto has institutions conducting research on iPS stem cells used in regenerative medicine. And in 2018, a new Osaka Heavy Ion Therapy Center, with facilities that can eliminate cancer cells without surgery, is scheduled to be opened in cooperation with the International Cancer Center.
Kansai also has the power to turn research results into real-life applications. The area is home to many companies in pharmaceutical and other scientific industries, and it is such a stronghold for corporations with advanced technical abilities that the locals say, “There is nothing that can’t be made in Osaka.” As Prime Minister Abe conveys in his video message, the Osaka tradition of innovative spirit that drives its companies is exemplified by the saying “Well, get to it then!” This spirit has spawned many innovations and dispatched them to the world. The Osaka, Kansai region are the perfect stage for the Expo, as they are deeply rooted in the ethos of encouraging people to take on new challenges.
The proposed venue for the World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai is Yumeshima (“Dream Island”), a vast 390-hectare (964-acre) man-made island in Osaka Bay. “Just like the meaning of its name, we want this to be a place that makes the dreams of visitors come true,” Governor Matsui enthusiastically explains. “The strengths of Kansai lie not only in the venue, but also in its rich heritage of history, culture, and the arts, and its many attractions for visitors to enjoy. Most of all, the people of Osaka love to welcome guests. Steeped in the tradition of omotenashi , their hospitality is their expertise. In addition, Osaka is located nearby the magnificent cities of Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe which feature many of Japan’s most famous sightseeing spots. We hope that by hosting the World Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, we can help as many people as possible to experience the wonders of Kansai.
Osaka is also a cultural entertainment capital of Japan. Since days of old, it has been a base for bunraku, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater (also known as Ningyo Joruri). Today, comedy culture thrives as well: Osaka is a popular place to catch rakugo and manzai shows, which are Japanese traditional forms of comedic storytelling. Pictured in the photo is the Namba Grand Kagetsu theater, where rakugo, manzai, and Yoshimoto New Comedy acts appear on stage 365 days a year.
Kansai is home to many research institutes, including Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) directed by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. With the goal of “contributing to achievements in regenerative medicine,” the facility primarily conducts wide-ranging research on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), studying everything from the fundamentals all the way to real applications in the field.