In the moments after Osaka was awarded the 2025 World Expo on the early morning of Nov. 24, there was jubilation, back-slapping, and wide smiles. More than a few eyes glittered at the thought of what senior business leaders hoped would be a major cash cow. You could almost hear the clicking of soroban (traditional abacus) in the air as they began mentally adding up the profits to be made.

But after the euphoria and the alcohol wore off, the sobering realization set in that 2025 was not only just seven years away but also that the next six months will be the busiest the region has faced in years, and that the world will be watching.

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