Japan Backs S. Korea’s Bid to Host World Expo 2030

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol shake hands in San Francisco in November.

The government has decided to back South Korea’s bid to host the World Expo 2030, which the Asian neighbor plans to hold in the southern city of Busan.

The move is seen as a sign of support for the administration of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and a means to further improve Tokyo-Seoul relations.

Busan is in competition with Riyadh and Rome to host the expo. The winner will be selected on Tuesday by member states of the Bureau International des Expositions during its general assembly in Paris.

Initially, there were strong calls within the government to support Riyadh’s bid, taking in consideration Japan’s dependence on the Middle East for imports of crude oil.

However, given that the Yoon administration has been making efforts to improve bilateral relations, the decision was made to get behind the South Korean bid.

According to government sources, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida informally told Yoon that Japan would support the bid during talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in India in September. It was discussed at a meeting of the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea on Sunday in Busan.

The Yoon administration is placing great importance on hosting the expo. It is believed that Busan was chosen for Sunday’s trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting that includes China to promote the city both domestically and abroad as a suitable expo host.

Should Busan be chosen, the Japanese government will offer to share with South Korea insights gained during the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo.