Representatives of over 150 countries and international organisations gathered in Nara for an International Participants Meeting (IPM) ahead of Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai. With Expo preparations and pavilion construction reaching their peak, the two-day meeting allowed Organisers and Participants to align plans for the next World Expo, less than 300 days until its opening.

The IPM gathered Expo participants as well as Japanese officials, the Expo Organisers and representatives of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) for sessions dedicated to multiple aspects of Expo preparation, including site operations, sustainability measures, theme content and events programming.

Work on pavilion interiors and the content of exhibition spaces was a core part of discussions, with participants in the process of finalising their concepts before interior work begins. For Organiser-built pavilions, countries and international organisations will gain access to their pavilions beginning next month in order to begin work on exhibition content. Countries participating with self-built pavilions meanwhile continue to make progress, with construction having been launched last winter.

The Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, speaking at the opening of the International Participants Meeting

In addition to progress on the pavilions, Organisers and participating countries exchanged on the development of the Expo theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives” and the multitude of ways it will be manifested both on and off the Expo site. Notably, the structure and content of the theme weeks were further reviewed in order to allow Expo participants to plan their involvement and activities accordingly.

Held in the city of Nara, part of the Kansai region, the IPM concluded with an organised visit to the Expo site, situated on Osaka’s Yumeshima Island. Attendees had the opportunity to take stock of the progress made so far and experience the Grand Ring, the 2km wooden structure that visually defines the World Expo site.

The Minister responsible for Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, Hanako Jimi, speaking at the opening of the International Participants meeting. Image credit: Expo 2025 Cabinet Secretariat

In the framework of the meeting, Commissioners-General of BIE Member States met to elect the Members of the Steering Committee of the College of Commissioners, which will liaise with Organisers before and during the Expo. Manuel Salchli, Commissioner-General of Switzerland, was elected Chairperson of the Steering Committee.

Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the Secretary General of the BIE, stated: “We are now in the final stretch towards realising a World Expo that will open the door to future society. The intense efforts currently deployed by Japan and by all participating countries will next year translate into millions of wonderful and memorable experiences for visitors.”

Hanako Jimi, Japan’s Minister for Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai told participants: “I strongly believe that the Expo will serve as an excellent opportunity for people from around the globe to come together and think about the future of humanity. The Expo is just around the corner. Let’s work together and bring big excitement to the world, feeling the bond among ourselves.”

World Expos, officially known as International Registered Exhibitions, are global gatherings of nations addressing universal challenges of our time. These unparalleled global events offer a journey inside a chosen theme through engaging and immersive activities. The most recent World Expo, which closed on 31 March 2022, took place in Dubai, UAE under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, and received more than 24 million visits. The next World Expo, Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, will be open between 13 April and 13 October 2025.