Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui left his typhoon-struck prefecture on Sunday for a weeklong tour of Europe, aiming to promote his bid to host the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima island in Osaka.
Due to the serious damage that had been done to his own prefecture’s Kansai International Airport, he was forced to take an alternative flight from Aichi’s Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname city.
“If I had cancelled the visit at this point,” Matsui explained to reporters, “it would have conveyed our sense of vulnerability as a city. I want to tell them that we have the power to minimize disaster damage.”
Matsui is scheduled to visit Hungary, Denmark, and Italy to appeal for these countries’ support for Osaka’s World Expo bid, which he estimates may have an impact on the outcome. He is expected to return to Japan on the 16th.
Osaka’s remaining rivals are Ekaterinburg in Russia and Baku in Azerbaijan. Previously Paris had been in the running for the expo as well, but the French capital’s withdrawal appeared to make Osaka the frontrunner.
The Osaka prefectural and city governments have been strongly campaigning to open an IR at Yumeshima in 2024 and then host the World Expo right next to it the following year.
The decision on the host city for the 2025 World Expo will be made by the Bureau International des Expositions this November.