With the 2025 World Expo secured for Yumeshima district in Osaka Bay and growing confidence the man-made island will also host one of Japan's first casino resorts, Kansai's business leaders are stepping up efforts to win local approval and central government funding for major transportation infrastructure projects over the next two decades.

At the annual Kansai Economic and Management Summit, which concluded Friday, there was an air of satisfaction and anticipation that the Group of 20 Summit in June, the World Rugby Cup later this year, as well as the 2025 Expo and a possible casino, will mean an increased flow of tourists to the Kansai region in the near and distant future.

New rail links were on the minds of some participants — nearly 680 corporate leaders in the area to came to participate in sessions on topics including the digital society, the aging workforce and Kansai area tourism — especially the controversial maglev line, a new shinkansen that will transport passengers at blazing speeds in magnetically levitated cars. Kansai business leaders are stepping up lobbying efforts locally and in Tokyo to ensure the maglev is extended to Osaka by as early as 2037.