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Economy

Osaka named host of World Expo 2025

Japan seeks to generate $17.7 bn in economic benefits

Keidanren honorary chair Sadayuki Sakakibara, second from left, celebrates with other Japanese government officials and business leaders after the host city for the World Expo in 2025 was announced.
Keidanren honorary chair Sadayuki Sakakibara, second from left, celebrates with other Japanese government officials and business leaders after the host city for the World Expo in 2025 was announced.   © Kyodo

PARIS -- The major Japanese city of Osaka was selected Friday to hold the World Expo in 2025, beating Russia's Ekaterinburg and the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.

The Bureau International des Expositions chose the city at its General Assembly here via secret ballot, with 156 dues-paying countries voting among the 170 member states of the BIE. Japan won the most votes in the first round at 85, then prevailed over Russia in the runoff with 92.

Japan last got the nod for the 2005 expo in Aichi Prefecture, and Osaka hosted the World Expo in 1970. The country won out this time in light of the success of its past expos and its high operational capabilities.

The Japanese government sees the event generating 2 trillion yen ($17.7 billion) in economic benefits for another round of stimulus following the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2020.

Osaka's concept for Expo 2025 is a "living lab" for cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Running from May 3 to Nov. 3, the 185-day event is expected to see 150 countries participate and draw roughly 28 million visitors from Japan and abroad.

The World Expo in Osaka in 1970. The white structure in the center is artist Taro Okamoto's Tower of the Sun, which remains standing to this day. The World Expo in Osaka in 1970. The white structure in the center is artist Taro Okamoto's Tower of the Sun, which remains standing to this day.

The city's expo project, "based around the co-creation of a future society to address global challenges, has a strong resonance with the international community," BIE Secretary-General Vicente Loscertales said in a news release.

The prefecture and city of Osaka also aim to open integrated-resort facilities with a casino on the artificial island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay in time for the expo. The city will likely accelerate such infrastructure projects as extending the subway and redeveloping the bay area.

Venue construction will cost about 125 billion yen. Expenses will be evenly split by the central and local governments as well as businesses. Securing private capital will be the next task.

The 2025 Japan World Expo Committee is chaired by former Toray Industries President Sadayuki Sakakibara, an honorary chair of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren. The committee submitted its candidacy to the BIE in April 2017.

Both Russia and Azerbaijan promoted themselves as first-time hosts. Russia, which also lost a bid for Expo 2020, touted its experience with international events under President Vladimir Putin, such as the 2014 Winter Olympics and soccer's 2018 World Cup.

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