Expo mission to inspect Aichi site

The International Bureau of Exposition (BIE) will dispatch a mission to Aichi Prefecture in October to inspect the proposed Seto site for World Expo 2005, trade chief Takashi Fukaya said.

The move will precede the BIE general assembly, to be held in November or December, in which the Paris-based organization will decide whether to give the green light to Japan’s expo plans, Fukaya told reporters on Friday following a 20-minute telephone conversation with BIE Chairman Gilles Noghes.

During the conversation, Fukaya conveyed to Noghes the decision to abandon a controversial housing and infrastructure project for 2,000 families on the Kaisho Forest site, which was prompted by concerns expressed by the BIE and environmental groups.

While Fukaya informed Noghes that Japan is now considering building a theme complex on the site and developing it as a park or research center after the event, Noghes asked Fukaya to step up efforts to devise a revised expo plan to meet its theme of “the wisdom of nature.”

Aichi Prefecture and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, along with the Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition, are currently reviewing the plan before filing an application with the BIE by the summer.