National

Keidanren chief Hiroaki Nakanishi eyed to oversee organizing of 2025 Osaka expo

JIJI, Kyodo

The government is expected to propose that Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi head the new body that will succeed the Osaka 2025 World Expo bid committee and oversee the organizing of the event, sources said Saturday.

The Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions on Friday night chose Osaka over Ekaterinburg in Russia and the Azerbaijan capital of Baku as the venue for the 2025 Expo, sparking hopes in Japan’s third-largest city that the event will give an added boost to the economy in the wake of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

One of the key tasks of the successor body will be to coordinate the financing of the event between the government, local governments and businesses, with the venue expected to cost ¥125 billion to build. The private sector will be asked to pay some ¥40 billion of that cost, the sources said, a task the central government believes Nakanishi has unique leadership skills to successfully carry out.

For the 2005 Expo in Aichi Prefecture, locally based companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., made major financial contributions for the construction of the venue.

Companies in and around Osaka are considering making contributions, but some businesses are concerned that they may be asked to give more than they are willing to pay.

Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) Chairman Masayoshi Matsumoto, also chairman of Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., has already said his company will make a sizable contribution to the effort.

Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura said Sunday he will propose to the Osaka Municipal Assembly a supplementary budget worth ¥14 billion to prepare for the expo.

The mayor told reporters about his plan upon arrival at Kansai International Airport from Paris, where Friday’s vote took place to choose the host.

The mayor said the extra budget will be used to set up infrastructure on the site for the expo, the man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a speech in Tokyo on Sunday that he expects “a large impact” on the local economy from the event.

The central government estimates that the spectacle will generate increased economic output by nearly ¥2 trillion, primarily from an expected increase in construction and tourists visiting from abroad.