Self-Built Pavilions at Osaka-Kansai Expo Likely to Drop from 60 to 40; Some Countries Likely to Change Type of Pavilion

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Preparations for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo are underway at Yumeshima, a manmade island in Konohana Ward, Osaka City, on Saturday.

The number of countries that will construct their own pavilions for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo is likely to decrease to about 40 from an initial estimate of 60 due partly to rising material costs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Pavilions that are constructed by individual countries are classified as Type A. According to several government officials, the Japanese government plans to encourage participating countries that are unable to construct Type A to switch to Type C, where multiple countries or regions share pavilions, among other options.

Type A pavilions are considered the highlight of expos as they feature unique and aesthetic exterior designs created by the participating countries. In August last year, 60 countries had expressed interest in building their own pavilions amid growing concerns over construction delays.

Since then, however, Mexico has withdrawn their plans and Brazil has switched to a simple Type X pavilion that is constructed by the Expo’s organizing body, the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition on behalf of the participating country. Slovenia and Israel have decided to switch to Type C, leading to at least eight countries abandoning Type A pavilions. Among countries planning to construct Type A pavilions, 17 countries have yet to finalize their contractors as of April 13.

Initially, the government had requested participating countries to complete their pavilion’s construction by July, based on the guidelines provided by the Expo association. In February, however, the completion deadline was extended to mid-October after feedback from participating countries which said that they would not be able to complete the construction within budget due to rising material costs, among other reasons.

The government and the Expo Association have already listed the countries that are unlikely to participate with Type A pavilions. With the Expo just one year away as of Saturday, a transition to a Type C or Type X pavilion is also being encouraged. If participating countries have no prospect of beginning construction by summer, the government will request the return of the planned pavilion sites.

Since domestic circumstances of participating countries are a factor, the government and the association intend to carefully negotiate agreements with participants. The possibility of developing a lawn plaza on any returned sites is also being considered.