Yumeshima development gets real

    The development of the homely man-made island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay into a glittering center of international attention has progressed from just an ambitious prospect to an impending reality now that the Bureau International des Expositions has agreed that the 2025 World Expo will be hosted there. 

    Regardless of any IR-related developments, the Osaka government must now plan how to host the estimated 28 million visitors to the World Expo expected to descend on Yumeshima between May and November of 2025. This will require a fundamental transformation of the flat, featureless, and isolated plot of land into something that has rapid and convenient access from the city center and the airports, as well as enough attraction to marvel the world. 

    The theme of the expo will be “Designing Future Society for Our Lives,” and it is expected to highlight cutting-edge technologies in particular.

    Other than Osaka’s Yumeshima itself, the idea is being floated to create satellite World Expo facilities in places like Kobe and Kyoto. It is, after all, being presented not only as an Osaka event, but also a Kansai-wide expo. 

    Wasting little time, Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura began preparing a JPY14 billion ($124 million) supplementary budget request to the city council as an initial step toward funding Yumeshima construction efforts. 

    Meanwhile, the Abe government reportedly began angling for Keidanren Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi to be put in charge of a new body that will decide how to divide costs for hosting and the construction of facilities for the 2025 World Expo in Osaka. 

    Finally, among the IR operators it was Las Vegas Sands alone that was immediately ready with a congratulatory press release in the name of Managing Director of Global Development George Tanasijevich: “Las Vegas Sands congratulates Osaka on its win to host the World Expo in 2025. This is a watershed event that will help revitalize Japan and Osaka’s economy, energize its communities and bring in substantial numbers of tourists. We are inspired by the tenacity, teamwork, and vision that the Osaka political leadership has shown—together with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, members of Japan’s national and Osaka governments, the Osaka business community—in the ‘All-Japan’ public-private effort to bring the World Expo to Osaka.”