The Japanese government decided Wednesday to introduce an insurance program for domestic construction firms in order to cover the costs of building pavilions for the 2025 World Exposition in western Japan in case foreign countries default on their payments.

The government aims to speed up the construction of the pavilions by alleviating risks for domestic firms and by encouraging them to more actively seek orders, amid concerns about the slow progress being made by overseas participants concerning preparations for the event in Osaka.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura addresses a meeting in Tokyo on preparations for the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, on Aug. 2, 2023. (Kyodo)

Insurance will be provided by government-sponsored Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said.

Of the some 150 participating countries, around 50 are expected to design and build their own pavilions with complex designs, considered to be the main attraction of the event. But a labor shortage and rising material costs have made Japanese construction firms reluctant to sign contracts.

If countries wish to build their own pavilions, they need to obtain permission for carrying out the construction from Osaka city authorities by submitting a basic design plan.

But only South Korea has submitted its plan as of late July, fueling concerns that the pavilions for many overseas participants may not be built in time for the opening in April 2025.

Under the current plan, participating countries are supposed to complete the bulk of the construction work for their dedicated pavilions by July 2024.

The event's organizer has proposed that countries come up with simplified designs and has asked the government to lift next year's cap on construction workers' overtime hours.

The exposition will run from April 13 through Oct. 13, 2025 on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, centered on the theme of "Designing Future Society for Our Lives."