Land preparatory work has now begun for a planned casino resort in Osaka that will be located right next to the city's expo site — but that milestone is being overshadowed by problems already causing delays to foreign pavilion construction for the 2025 expo.

The work on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, comes less than 500 days before the expo is due to open on April 13, 2025. It also kicks off at a time when the troubled event has been plagued by rising costs and labor shortages. Given the logistical issues facing the expo and the need to finish construction in less than 1½ years, there are concerns over whether the casino resort can be built on schedule.

On Monday, the prefectural and municipal governments announced that the first cement was being poured into the ground at a 21-hectare area on Yumeshima in order to prevent liquefaction and firm up the base on the part of the island where the casino facilities will be built.