Mexico and Estonia have withdrawn from the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, Japan's minister in charge of the event said Tuesday, with rising construction costs weighing on overseas participants planning to build their own pavilions.

Still, an additional nine countries including Denmark and Finland have decided to participate in the event in western Japan, Hanako Jimi said.

As of March, a total of 153 countries and regions had announced their participation, in addition to eight international organizations. In the latest tally, the number is 160 countries and regions as well as nine international organizations, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition begins a two-day international conference in Osaka, the upcoming event's host city, on Nov. 14, 2023, to provide information on the expo's pavilions for countries and international organizations planning to take part. (Kyodo)

Sources familiar with the situation said earlier that Mexico was among countries initially planning to exhibit at a self-built pavilion. But the Latin American nation had begun mulling its withdrawal, informing Japan of potential difficulties in securing funds for the event.

The so-called Type A pavilions, in which participating countries design and build their own installations, are supposed to be one of the event's key attractions.

Nigeria has also given up on a self-built pavilion, according to a source from the African nation.

Facing rising construction material costs amid inflation and a shortage of labor in Japan's construction sector, some countries have shifted to a less costly type of pavilion, although the option means smaller exhibition spaces.

The World Expo will run from April 13 to Oct. 13, 2025, on Yumeshima, a man-made island in Osaka Bay, centered on the theme of "Designing Future Society for Our Lives."

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