April 28, 2024

Host Towns for “Expo 2025 Osaka” Version

Mirko - stock.adobe.com

31 local governments have been selected for the government's "Expo International Exchange Program" in preparation for Expo 2025. This unique program not only fosters cultural understanding but also opens doors for significant business exchanges with participating countries and regions, mirroring the successful "host town" initiative for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The goal is to create a platform for mutual understanding and growth, sparking excitement and intrigue among all involved.

Twenty-seven municipalities were selected for the exchange plan, in addition to Osaka, Gifu, Nara, Tottori, Hokkaido, and Hiroshima. Additional applications will be accepted until January 2025, and more local governments are expected to participate.

The aim is to create points of contact with the residents and businesses of participating countries and regions, make an international exchange, attract tourists, and create business the legacy of the Expo. The program will run until the end of March 2026, and the government will partially subsidize the costs of holding related events and traveling to Japan.

Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, chose to partner with Switzerland. Swiss-born “manzai” artists held a workshop where 20 elementary school students created “manzai” using stories about Switzerland. Suita City was the venue for the 1970 Osaka Expo, and people and citizens involved in overseas pavilions deepened their friendships. A city official said, “We hope that this Expo will provide an opportunity for people to come into contact with advanced knowledge and different cultures.”

Nasu-Shiobara City in Tochigi Prefecture will connect with its sister city, Linz, in Austria, through the Expo. As a host town for the Tokyo Olympics, Nasu-Shiobara had hosted a triathlon team for pre-campus training, but due to COVID-19, the team couldn't interact with citizens.

As the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic have subsided, face-to-face interactions are returning, with students from an Austrian music school visiting a junior high school in the city. One of their goals this time is to sing with students from their country at the Yumeshima venue in Osaka during the Expo. A city official said, “We want to deepen further the mutual understanding promoted through sister cities and the Olympics and make this a legacy of the Expo.”