Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan
An international exposition will be held in Osaka in 2025 under the theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.”
From April 13 to October 13, 2025, Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan (“Kansai” refers to Osaka and surrounding areas) will be held in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture. This will be the third time an international exposition has been held in Osaka, following the Japan World Exposition Osaka 1970 and the International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Osaka, Japan, 1990. Yumeshima, an artificial island located on the waterfront in Osaka City, will be the location of the 155-hectare venue. As of March 23, 2022, a total of 87 countries and 6 international organizations have formally announced their participation in Expo 2025.
In December 2020, the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, which is in charge of preparing for and managing the Expo, announced their Master Plan. According to the Master Plan, Expo 2025 is “a national project toward a coming post-COVID-19 era.” Moreover, the Expo will “provide humankind with an opportunity to return to life as a starting point, rebuild awareness of the life of each other and take a careful look at life in diverse forms in the natural world to explore a sustainable future of the world.” It also emphasizes that “in this era, which marks a turning point in history, it will be significant for the world to come together for the Expo and take a step toward a new world beyond 2025 by sharing a vision of a future society for our lives.”
2025 is five years before the target year 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The Master Plan states that “[Expo 2025] will offer an ideal opportunity to confirm the interim progress of international efforts to achieve the SDGs and accelerate the efforts. At the same time, it is expected that the Expo, intended to explore a future society from a medium- to long-term perspective, will present not only a vision of a world in 2030 where the SDGs will have been achieved but also a vision of a world beyond the SDGs.”
The Expo’s Theme
The theme of Expo 2025 is “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” The theme is intended to make individuals think about how they want to live and how they can maximize their potential. It is also intended to drive co-creation by the international community in designing a sustainable society that supports individuals’ ideas of how they want to live. Moreover, to elaborate further on the discussion of “life” as the central piece of the Expo’s theme, three subthemes have also been established: “Saving Lives,” “Empowering Lives,” and “Connecting Lives.”
Furthermore, the concept of Expo 2025 is “People’s Living Lab.” Based on this concept, the Expo will endeavor to give a realistic picture of a future society not just through thought but also through action. This endeavor will begin before the Expo, by inviting diverse participants to come together with various initiatives in their respective positions and tackle challenges whose solution will help achieve the SDGs at or outside the Expo venue. Additionally, positioning the Expo venue as a laboratory where new technologies and systems will be verified, the Expo will aim to raise it as a platform that will trigger the creation of innovations by diverse players and apply those innovations to real society. As part of this, efforts will be made toward realizing Society 5.0*, which is positioned as one of Japan’s national growth strategies.
Exhibitions, events, field experiments, and other projects will be held in accordance with Expo 2025’s theme and concept. One of them is “thematic projects.” Eight leading experts, including scientists, movie directors, and artists, get together with companies and organizations to conduct these projects. Each expert produces the pavilion architecture, the exhibition at the pavilion, and various events according to one of eight themes, such as “Quest of Life” or “Totality of Life.”
Moreover, the TEAM EXPO 2025 programme realizes the theme of Expo 2025 and aims to have the diverse participants jointly build an ideal future society to achieve the SDGs. A feature of these projects is that they are not restricted by the Expo’s duration or venue, with many of them already having started. As of February 2022, a total of 581 projects have been registered, including 150 organizations as Co-Creation Partners and 431 projects as Co-Creation Challenges. Co-Creation Challenges are registered as individual actions done to realize futures as envisioned by each and every person, while Co-Creation Partners are registered as corporations, organizations, and such that support the Co-Creation Challenges devised by either themselves or others. For example, there was a program for sending orizuru (origami paper cranes) to Expo 2020 Dubai that was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where about 1,000 orizuru made by Co-Creation Partner members, elderly persons, and many others were wrapped in bags together with message cards and distributed at the Japan Pavilion at the Dubai Expo. This was very popular.
In preparation for 2025, diverse initiatives will be conducted as part of the TEAM EXPO 2025 program. Of these, especially excellent initiatives will be displayed and demonstrated at the venue as the Best Practices. (For more details about Expo 2025, see https://www.expo2025.or.jp/en/)
Note: This article has been created with the consent of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and on the basis of materials published by the Ministry.
* Society 5.0 refers to a society in which economic development and the resolution of social issues are compatible with each other through a highly integrated system of cyber space and physical space by utilizing AI (artificial intelligence), robotics, big data, and other forms of advanced technology. The concept appears in the Sixth Science, Technology, and Innovation Basic Plan adopted by the Japanese government in a Cabinet decision in 2021. https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/index.html