Public Still Shunning Expo: This Week in Osaka April 5th to 12th 2024

Each week, here at, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.

Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.

Public Enthusiasm for Expo Hits a New Low

An artist’s impression of the Expo venue when the event begins next year.

We are now less than one year away from the Osaka 2025 Expo. Unfortunately, though, data released this week shows public enthusiasm for the event at an all time low. A new survey published this week stated that 82% of participating companies who responded cite “lack of domestic momentum for the event” as their primary point of concern.

The next biggest concern was “delays in completing construction work”. However, as this only garnered 32% of comments, it pales in comparison to participants’ primary point of contention. Third place went to “difficulties in promoting the event overseas”. This again speaks to the lack of enthusiasm for the event and highlights that such concerns are not just a domestic, Japanese issue.

Companies Mirror Public Anger at Expo Expense

The venue for the expo, pictured shortly before construction commenced.

The companies who responded to the survey also seem to be more in tune with the public perception in a financial sense. 58% of respondents did not feel that the level of expense in terms of venue construction costs was inappropriate.

Of this group, only 2% felt the cost of venue construction was “too small”.

When asked how to deal with these challenges in promoting the event, 51% said that the exhibits themselves need to be more eye-catching. Additionally, 42% of responding companies said they expected stronger explanation and promotion of the Expo from both local and central government representatives.

Meanwhile, the Osaka public remains, at best, indifferent to the whole thing.

Operating costs for the Expo have, in the past twelve months, ballooned to 1.4 times their original estimate. Though few will say so publicly, a number of Japanese companies supporting the event are anxious about this being a loss-making exercise. The final costs of the event will be split 4 ways between the central government, Osaka’s city government, the Osaka prefectural government and participating private enterprise.

Osaka’s regional and national politicians are also anxious at this potential financial burden. Any shortfall in revenue for the Expo will have to be made up, at least in part, with public money. This makes the Expo a potentially toxic influence for politicians hoping to keep their seats at the next round of elections.

Yen Crash Offers Opportunity

10,000 yen just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

Japan’s currency hit a 34 year low against the US dollar this week. At the time of writing, the yen trades at a ratio of 153 to 1 US dollar. Whilst economists in Japan speculate on how the finance ministry may intervene, tourist focused businesses in Osaka spy an opportunity.

“American tourists love a bargain”, said one Shinsaibashi shopkeeper this week. “And while its not good for exports, for people like me who only trade in goods made and sold in Japan, this is a great opportunity.”

Indeed, at least in the short term, this currency fluctuation does mean lower prices for American visitors. However, uncertainty remains as to just how long current currency levels will last.

Tourism experts in Osaka have also yet to notice a major spike in tourism in response to the financial climate. One expert did not share the shopkeepers’ optimism.

“At the end of the day, a weak yen is bad for Japan. Sure, it’s cheaper to fly here, but even tourism focused businesses still import a lot of merchandise from abroad.

“Also, while it is a significant share of the tourism market, the vast majority of foreign visitors to Osaka come from nearby Asian nations, such as Taiwan, Korea and China.”

In any case, it seems Osaka remains open for business, even as the national economy continues to stagnate.

And Finally…

A peahen, similar to the one that went walkabout in Osaka this week.

A distressed owner was reunited with his feathered friend thanks to the Osaka police this week.

A peahen, kept as pet in the city, flew away suddenly on Wednesday morning after being scared off by a flock of tourists. The group were heading to Osaka Castle Park to see the Sakura trees. Thankfully, police soon cordoned off the area, and the owner was able to recover his beloved bird, with some help from the Osaka Fire Service.

Both owner and hen are said to be doing well.

That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!

A short note from the writer

As I prepared this week’s news, I received word from home about the untimely passing of my mother, Elizabeth Carrigan. She was a regular reader of and this week’s news is dedicated to her memory. Rest assured dear readers that you will continue to receive your weekly dose of Osaka news in a timely fashion, just as I’m sure mum wishes it to be.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.