Inconvenient Truth Revealed by Aerial Survey of Osaka Expo Site | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Inconvenient Truth Revealed by Aerial Survey of Osaka Expo Site

Less than a year to go before the Expo, but construction work is progressing slowly. ...... Many overseas pavilions have not yet even decided on a construction contractor.

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In late May, when we took aerial photos of the Yumeshima site, where the venue will be located, we found numerous vacant lots where construction hasn’t even started yet.

First, we would like you to look at this photo. It was taken from the sky in late May at the planned venue for the Osaka Expo, Yumesima, which is approaching 100 months until the event.

The explanations for each location are as follows.

Forest of Tranquility
At the “Forest of Tranquility,” aimed at providing a place for relaxation within the venue, visitors can stroll along pathways and take breaks.

The Great Roof (Ring)
Positioned as the symbol of the Osaka Expo, the “Ring” is planned to become the world’s largest wooden structure upon completion.

Water Plaza
Here, shows focusing on water and air themes will be held daily. The use of seawater is intended as an environmentally friendly measure.

Signature Pavilion
An exhibition area led by eight prominent producers from various fields. Notable figures such as Yoichi Ochiai and Shinichi Fukuoka have been selected.

Official Participant Pavilions
The largest pavilions where countries worldwide have confirmed their participation. Exhibits are expected to showcase cutting-edge medical equipment and vehicles.

“Opening is scheduled for April next year. According to most city officials, many pavilions are unlikely to finish construction by then. Among the pavilions from various countries, the most popular type, Type A (※Explanation※), has 53 countries planning to exhibit, with 14 countries not even having chosen a construction contractor. Already, Mexico, Estonia, and three other countries have withdrawn their participation, and it has been revealed that Argentina is considering withdrawal by the end of May.” (Osaka City Official)

The challenges extend beyond just the venue.

“There aren’t nearly enough shuttle bus drivers to transport visitors to the venue. There are numerous other problems as well, and ‘we’re at our wit’s end’ is our honest feeling.” (Same source)

Political journalist Akiko Azumi fiercely criticizes the troubled Osaka Expo.

“Due to overly optimistic projections, the budget has soared from ¥1.25 trillion to ¥2.35 trillion. The Wooden Ring, costing ¥35 billion, is slated for immediate dismantling after the Expo ends. The Osaka Expo seems to symbolize Japan’s current short-sightedness. Flag-bearers like Japan Innovation Party and Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura only seek the accolade of hosting the Expo. Their touted drastic reforms have fallen far short of expectations.”

The holding itself is in jeopardy, but as mentioned earlier, Osaka city officials are looking down, saying, “Postponement is not an option.”

“The handling of overseas VIP guests has already begun. If it were canceled, all the schedules of dignitaries would need to be changed. Even if construction doesn’t finish by the opening, we will forcefully proceed with the event.”

Before raising grand themes, resolving the immediate issues at hand is urgently needed.

From the June 21, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

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