Coordinating the Yumeshima IR and the 2025 World Expo

    While neither event is confirmed, the Osaka government plans to open a major urban IR and host the World Expo on adjoining plots of land on Yumeshima island in the middle of the next decade. Concerns remain whether the IR can be built before the 2025 Expo, or, perhaps worse, that both will need to be built at the same time.

    Clearly, the aim of the Osaka government is to have the IR open its doors in 2024, and then benefit from the extra level of business to be derived from hosting the 2025 World Expo right next to the new facility.

    However, if the central government drags its feet on establishing basic policies and licensing the nation’s three IRs, then it is possible that the IR will be able to open only well after the World Expo closes, and thus the Yumeshima IR will be denied the hoped-for boost.

    Another scenario causing concern is that the licensing process will push the IR opening into 2025, just about the same time as the World Expo. The problem here is that the scale of the construction projects of building both complexes at the same time could overwhelm the capacity of the construction companies, creating bottlenecks of transportation and labor force that damage and delay both initiatives.

    There is also talk of the IR possibly opening in stages, a smaller development before the World Expo and then a completion of the project in the late 2020s.

    Osaka will find out later this year if it has won its bid to host the 2025 World Expo, and it will be a couple of more years before the licensing of the Yumeshima IR is confirmed. In regard to the latter, however, Osaka’s IR bid is, for a variety of political and economic reasons, the closest to being a sure thing of all the local government candidacies.