Japan to Request Simpler Design for Expo Pavilions

©Plomp (Courtesy of Dutch government)
The design for the Netherlands’ pavilion for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo

The government will ask the countries and regions participating in the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo to simplify the design of their pavilions and increase construction budgets. The move comes as little progress has been made in contracts with Japanese companies for the pavilions’ construction.

Due to soaring prices for construction materials and a shortage of labor, not a single building permit application has been submitted to the city of Osaka for the construction of national pavilions. The government concluded that it needed to intervene.

About 150 countries and regions have announced their participation in the Expo. They can select from three different types of pavilions: “Type A,” built by the participating country; “Type B,” facilities built by the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition in which countries can rent modules; and “Type C,” organizer-built pavilions shared between countries.

Construction delays for Type A pavilions are of particular concern for the government. Some 50 countries and regions, including the United States and China, will exhibit in such pavilions.

Each country and region is required to sign a construction contract with a Japanese contractor and submit an application for a building permit to the Osaka municipal government.

However, as of Thursday, with 21 months to go before the Expo opens, no application had been submitted.

With construction costs rising, it is believed that complicated designs for the pavilions have become a stumbling block, and that many of the contractors are reluctant to accept orders, partly due to low profitability.

To address the situation, the government issued a request in late June to the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, an association of major general contractors in Tokyo, and other construction-related organizations, asking for their cooperation in the construction of pavilions of participating nations and regions. The request included measures by the government and the Expo association to reduce construction costs and shorten the construction period.

The request also indicated the government would ask participating countries and regions through diplomatic channels to simplify their designs and increase budgets.

The government is encouraging small and medium-sized general contractors to use trade insurance provided by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance to prepare for the risk of delayed payment for construction costs after signing contracts with participating countries.

The Expo association will establish a new help desk to handle orders for the national pavilions. It is also considering taking on the construction costs for temporary facilities to be used jointly by contractors during the construction period.

As to why it requested cooperation from the construction industry, the government explained that it was concerned the Osaka-Kansai Expo would no longer be an international exhibition.

© MIR_LAVA_facts and fiction (Courtesy of German government)
The design for Germany’s pavilion