Representatives of more than 100 countries gathered in Osaka this week as part of the first International Planning Meeting (IPM) in preparation for Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai.

With 900 days until the opening of the next World Expo, the meeting provided an opportunity for Expo Organisers, officials from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), and representatives of participating countries and international organisations to review progress and ongoing preparations for the event. Following on from Expo 2020 Dubai and the gradual lifting of travel restrictions related to Covid-19, this first large-scale gathering of all key stakeholders in Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai marks a key step in the journey towards the next World Expo.

Representatives of over 100 countries participated in the first International Planning Meeting ahead of Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai

The IPM is the first of several to be held before the opening of the Expo on 13 April 2025, as host country and participants cooperate around the development of the Expo’s pavilions, content and experience. Dedicated sessions took place yesterday and today with regard to the development of the Expo’s theme, “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”, as well as more technical aspects relating to the Master Plan, pavilion construction, logistics and operations, as well as participation in the Virtual Expo.

The IPM notably included a visit to the 155-hectare Expo site on Yumeshima Island, where infrastructure works are well underway with plots to be made available next year. The site, which is being conceived as a “People’s Living Laboratory”, will feature three main areas – Pavilion World, Water World and Green World – and will be centred around a large wooden ring. The pavilions of official participants will be situated in Pavilion World, which will include three zones: Saving Lives, Empowering Lives, and Connecting Lives.

Construction of pavilions is set to begin in April 2023

On the sidelines of the IPM, nine countries with self-built pavilions - Azerbaijan, Brazil, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - became the very first to sign their participation contracts, having defined details on their presence at the Expo including theme and pavilion size and location.

Nine countries signed their participation contracts during the IPM

BIE Member States elected Japan World Expo 2025 host country during the BIE’s 164th General Assembly in November 2018. Following the submission of the Registration Dossier by Japan in 2019, Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai was formally registered by the BIE in December 2020, with 142 countries and 8 international participants having so far confirmed their intention to participate in the Expo.

Opening address by the Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), Dimitri S. Kerkentzes

In opening remarks, the Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes declared: “With its theme requiring us to meet the challenge of designing future society, Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai is a springboard for achieving and going beyond the Sustainable Development Goals. With hundreds of participating countries present here this week, momentum is building and joint efforts are intensifying to join and connect in order to practically implement projects that maximise human potential.”

Opening address from the Commissioner General of Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, Ambassador Koji Haneda

The Commissioner-General of Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, Ambassador Koji Haneda, indicated: “We must look beyond the post Covid-19 world, and envision a resilient and sustainable society for the future. I am confident the Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai will provide an excellent opportunity for the global community to experiment and demonstrate a desirable way of life in the future.”

World Expos, officially known as International Registered Exhibitions, are global gatherings of nations addressing universal challenges of our time. These unparalleled global events offer a journey inside a chosen theme through engaging and immersive activities. The most recent World Expo, which closed on 31 March 2022, took place in Dubai, UAE under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, and received more than 24 million visits.