Osaka: Potential to Rise from ‘Failure’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An aerial photo of the man-made Yumeshima island in Konohana Ward, Osaka.

OSAKA — Yumeshima island, a man-made island in Osaka Bay, is scheduled to host the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, which could potentially attract 28 million people to the island.

With plans underway for an integrated resort centered around a casino be located next to the venues for the Expo, Yumeshima could be reborn as one of Asia’s leading resorts.

With the Expo in mind, several projects have been launched, including the construction of a section of the Hanshin Expressway’s Yodo River left bank line and the development of a place where small boats can dock.

Yumeshima, along with the other two man-made islands off the coast of Osaka Bay — Sakishima and Maishiima — were originally expected to serve as hubs of international trade and advanced technology. However, these plans fell through after the burst of the economic bubble in the early 1990s. Despite the original proposal of there one day being 60,000 people living on Yumeshima and a large sum of money being invested in a project to bring that idea to fruition, half of the island remains undeveloped and the population stands at zero. The island has sometimes been called “the legacy of failure.”

However, it seems a breath of new life is about to blow across the island.

“Hosting the Expo and recruiting an integrated resort is a great opportunity for us,” said Atsuhito Wakabayashi, a researcher at the Japan Research Institute. “Revitalizing the ocean while we utilize it as well as continuing to look toward the future with the further developments that evolve with the needs of the times is of great importance.”