National

Officials mull moving start of 2025 World Expo to miss Golden Week

Kyodo

The government is considering bringing forward the start of the World Exposition in 2025 in Osaka by two to three weeks from the original date of May 3.

Government officials told a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday that the opening should not coincide with the annual Golden Week holiday period from late April to early May to avoid potential congestion, according to a participant.

A senior Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official was quoted as saying an earlier start date would allow expo operations to function properly before the holiday rush.

A senior LDP lawmaker told reporters after the meeting that the party will give the go-ahead to a government plan to bring forward the start of the event to mid-April.

It would mean the closing date will also be brought forward from the current Nov. 3, given that the maximum length of a World Expo is six months.

The government is expected to seek Cabinet approval for a specific date before submitting an application for registration to the Bureau of International Expositions by the end of the year.

During the meeting, LDP lawmakers and government officials discussed if the planned expo site, the man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay, is resilient enough to withstand natural disasters and whether there is adequate access to the site for visitors.

Osaka was picked last November ahead of Ekaterinburg in Russia and the Azerbaijani capital Baku, and vowed to stage an event through Nov. 3, 2025, focusing on health and medical technologies.

It will be the second time Osaka Prefecture has hosted the World Expo, following the 1970 edition attended by around 64 million people, the second most in history after the Shanghai Expo in 2010.

Japan expects the 2025 Expo to attract 28 million visitors and boost the local economy by ¥2 trillion, underpinning growth after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Expos, known officially as International Registered Exhibitions, are held every five years with their themes based on the great challenges of the time.

Japan last hosted the event in 2005 in Aichi Prefecture, home to Toyota Motor Corp.’s headquarters.

Milan hosted the event in 2015, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates will play host in 2020.