Osaka, Japan picked to host 2025 World Expo

The western Japanese city of Osaka was selected Friday to host the World Exposition in 2025 that is expected to attract tens of millions of visitors, beating Ekaterinburg in Russia and the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

Osaka won the final run-off against Ekaterinburg. It has vowed to stage an event from May 3 and Nov. 3, 2025 focusing on health and medical technologies.

It is the second time for Osaka Prefecture to host the World Expo. The 1970 World Expo was held there and 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 yen ($ 18 billion), underpinning growth after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

«We’ll strive to make the expo a success. There is a big responsibility because this is everyone’s expo,» Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters in Paris where the voting took place by member countries of the event’s governing body, the Bureau International des Expositions.

Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui said the expo in the Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area will «shock the world.»

Under the theme «Designing Future Society for Our Lives,» Osaka aims to spur a global effort to achieve sustainable societies.

Osaka hopes to bring people and ideas together in the pursuit of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals — 17 objectives to be achieved by 2030, including no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, sustainable cities and communities and climate action.

Baku, sitting on the Caspian Sea in oil-rich Azerbaijan, offered as the theme of its proposal talent, vitality and achievement of humanity.

Ekaterinburg, located near the Ural mountains and Russia’s fourth-largest city, based its bid on the idea of future technological innovation as a catalyst for improved living conditions.

Neither Azerbaijan nor Russia has ever hosted an expo.

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

The French government had sought to host the 2025 exposition in Paris, but withdrew its candidacy earlier this year, citing financial concerns.

Japan most recently hosted the event in 2005 in Aichi Prefecture, a vibrant area of central Honshu where the city of Nagoya is located and Toyota Motor Corp. is headquartered.

The next expo will take place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in 2020, while the most recent one was held in Milan, Italy in 2015.

Earlier Friday, the three candidates made their final presentations at the general meeting.

Japan’s Seko somewhat nervously took the stage and extended an invitation to visit Osaka from which he hails, after which the «Pokemon» character Pikachu introduced a short video showing the planned site for the 2025 expo on the man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay.

All — Kyodo News+

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