• Kyodo

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Osaka is preparing a bid to host the 2025 World Exposition, a spokesman from the central government said Thursday.

“The government will properly consider (the bid) having heard a basic concept plan to be drawn up as soon as this fall,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda told a news conference in Tokyo.

“The government will be open to hearing the prefecture’s proposals,” he added.

The central government is thought to support the bid due to the potential economic windfall it would enjoy from hosting such an event soon after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. This would repeat the sequence involving the 1964 Tokyo Games and the 1970 Expo, which was also held in Osaka.

If the government officially decides to back the bid, it is expected to be declared at a meeting of the Bureau International des Expositions, the expo’s governing body, next spring.

Osaka’s top rival would likely be Paris, which is home to BIE headquarters and is said to be preparing its own bid.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a Diet session the same day that the government will make thorough inquiries about the substance of the bid proposal.

“The country will be reviewed (as part of the bidding process), so the contents must be able to compete with other countries,” Abe said.

In August, Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui asked trade minister Hiroshige Seko for assistance with the bid, and Seko responded by requesting that a plan to be compiled by this fall.

Panels formed by the Osaka Prefectural Government have since been racing to flesh out the plans.

According to sources close to the matter, Osaka’s proposal is to hold the expo on the artificial island of Yumeshima and base it on the theme of the health of humanity and the challenge of longevity. The prefecture aims to welcome some 30 million people to the site.

The prefecture is said to have estimated that between ¥120 billion and ¥130 billion would be required to build the expo facilities and that between ¥69 billion and ¥74 billion will be needed to run them.

It has also estimated that a further ¥78 billion would be needed to expand the Osaka subway, widen roads and bridges, and reclaim land needed for the facilities.

The prefecture has forecast that the indirect boost to the economy could top ¥4 trillion.

The 1970 expo was held in Suita, Osaka Prefecture. A large retail and entertainment complex opened on the former site in November last year.

Aichi Prefecture hosted the 2005 expo in the city of Nagakute.

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