Can we really do it…? No time to wait for a year and a half to host the Expo! Osaka Expo “110 billion more money, but still lots of vacant land” – Astonishing aerial photo | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Can we really do it…? No time to wait for a year and a half to host the Expo! Osaka Expo “110 billion more money, but still lots of vacant land” – Astonishing aerial photo

Can we really make it in time? There are only one year and six months left until the Osaka Expo, yet 65% of the participating countries have not even found a construction company to build their pavilions.

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A wooden promenade called the “Big Roof” surrounds the venue. In the center will be a group of buildings with pavilions from 60 countries and exhibits from 90 countries, an artificial forest called the “Forest of Tranquility,” and a water table for shows on the port side.

Looking down at the Expo site under the autumn sky with the sound of helicopter wings in the background, only a large ring of trees could be seen floating in the sky 400 meters above the Konohana Ward of Osaka City.

The Expo site is located on Yumeshima, or “Expo Island,” in Osaka Bay, just a stone’s throw from Universal Studios Japan. It will be the site of the Osaka-Kansai Expo to be held from April 2013, but the vast amount of vacant land spread out below makes one uneasy about its future.

Three Problems with the Artificial Island

Yumeshima was originally just a vacant lot with a container terminal. Shohei Okashita, a former member of the House of Representatives, has pointed out the many problems with hosting the Expo on Yumeshima.

Yumeshima was a final waste disposal site built in the 1970s,” said Shohei Okashita, a former member of the House of Representatives. At the time, there was little awareness of environmental issues, and incinerator ash containing toxic chemicals such as dioxin, a carcinogen, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which can cause deformed fingernails, was landfilled.

In the 1980s, there was the “Technoport Osaka” project to develop a new city center, and in the 1990s, there was the “Osaka Olympics Plan” to use Yumeshima as an athletes’ village, but on each occasion, soil contamination and the fragility of the ground were considered problematic. However, there is no incumbent member of the Diet who has been vocal about these issues, and our voices have not reached the Diet on this matter. I wonder how far our appeals have reached ……”

Yumeshima, which was also a waste disposal site, has poor transportation access. Only one bridge and one tunnel pass through the island. In the event of a disaster, there are fears of increased damage.

Budget Continues to Swell

Construction costs for the Osaka Expo are expected to increase by up to 110 billion yen from the initial bid.

Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, 60, has announced that the government is working out a plan to provide approximately 20 billion yen in security funding for the Expo, in addition to construction and operating costs. But essentially, security costs are to be decided by the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, not by the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry. Mr. Nishimura seems to be interested in the IR project to be built on the site of the Expo site, and he may want to ingratiate himself with the ‘Osaka Restoration Association’ for the IR project” (Koichi Kakutani, political journalist).

The plan was to start construction of the Expo site in the spring of ’23, but the actual construction was delayed by about six months.

The construction of an original design is difficult,” said Koichi Kakutani, a political journalist. But the construction costs that we demand from the contractors are low. In the case of one domestic pavilion, no bids were received for a construction cost of 980 million yen, and the third bid was 1.26 billion yen. They are probably planning to raise the construction cost and repeat the bidding process until they find a construction company willing to accept the bid at the offered price.
Of the 60 countries, 39 pavilions have not yet decided on a construction company, and only 19 countries have submitted their basic designs. No country has started construction, and one country has given up on construction,” said a construction company official.

As can be seen in the photo above, Yumeshima is currently in the process of completing the site preparation. The 59 pavilions that were to be built, including the Japan Pavilion, are still nowhere to be seen. When completed, the land, which will be about 33 times the size of the Tokyo Dome, will be filled with more than 100 buildings, including pavilions for companies and countries. ……

There has been absolutely no talk of scaling back or postponing the event. I have even heard that some pavilions may still be under construction even after the opening of the exhibition,” said Okashita.

The problems are piling up, but now the problem of sexual assault by Johnny’s is affecting the Expo as well.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura (48) has indicated that he will use “Kanjani Eight” as PR for the Expo,” says Okashita. He does this kind of thing because he is tone-deaf to diplomacy and performance-driven. Do they not consider the possibility that not only Europe and other countries, but also the U.S., which is involved in the IR business, might withdraw from the Expo?

The concept of the Osaka Expo is “a testing ground for the society of the future,” but under the circumstances, this sounds nothing but irony.

Yumeshima as seen from the sky. (The area circled by the dotted line is in the photo above.) On the west side, a parking lot and outdoor event venues will be constructed to accommodate an average of more than 150,000 visitors each day.

From the October 27, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Yoichi Yoshinaga

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