Around 80 percent of Japanese companies and entities involved in the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka indicated concerns over a lack of public enthusiasm for the event, with about a year to go until its opening, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

The questionnaire, which received responses from a total of 45 companies, sponsors and other organizations, also found less than 50 percent felt Japan's planned spending of 235 billion yen ($1.55 billion) for constructing the expo venue to be reasonable.

File photo taken on Feb. 7, 2024, shows Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, the location of the planned venue of the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The event, slated for April 13 through Oct. 13 next year on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, western Japan, has been overshadowed by criticism of inflated costs and concerns over the slow construction of pavilions by overseas participants.

Asked about challenges concerning the expo with multiple answers allowed, the largest group of 82 percent cited "fostering domestic momentum" for the event, followed by 38 percent that pointed to delays in the construction of overseas pavilions, while 31 percent noted the promotion of the expo outside of Japan.

Regarding the new venue construction costs, 42 percent of companies considered them "appropriate," while 18 percent regarded them as "high." Only 2 percent felt they were "insufficient."

To gain public support for the event despite escalating costs, 60 percent of companies called for improved publicity for the exhibits, with 51 percent suggesting enhancing the exhibits themselves, while 42 percent expected detailed explanations from the central and local governments.

No company felt that they had sufficient support from the public for the event.

Around 28.2 million people, including 3.5 million overseas visitors, are expected to attend Japan's third hosting of the World Expo, officially known as International Registered Exhibition. It last hosted the event in 2005 in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan.

However, companies are cautious about the possible financial burden they may have to bear if the event incurs losses by failing to attract as many visitors as expected.

Artistic rendition of the 2025 World Exposition venue on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay. (Photo courtesy of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition)(Kyodo)

Spending on developing the venue has nearly doubled from the previous estimate to 235 billion yen amid high material costs and labor fees. The total cost will be split equally between the central government, the Osaka prefectural and city governments, and the business community.

Operating expenses have also shown a 1.4-fold rise from an earlier estimate to 116 billion yen. Organizers expect ticket sales revenue to cover the majority of operational costs.

Regarding the significance of participating in the expo, 69 percent of respondents answered "solving challenges to build a sustainable society," followed by 60 percent that cited "contributing to the Kansai regional economy" of western Japan, and 40 percent that answered "promotion of new technologies both in Japan and abroad."

The survey, conducted from late February to April, received responses from 67 percent of 67 targeted entities, including ANA Holdings Inc., Kansai Electric Power Co., West Japan Railway Co., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and the Osaka Restaurant Management Association.

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