Aichi to Host EXPO 2005
An Opportunity to Solve Humankind's Problem
New Concept to Build the World Anew
An international Pottery Center
A Grass-Roots Review of Community Development
Chubu Goes Global
Aichi International Plaza Opens in Ngoya
Fireworks decorate the skies over Paris to launch the Year Japan festivities in France
To choose the host for the 2005 World Exposition, the Paris-based
International Bureau of Expositions (BIE) held a general assembly in Monaco
on June 12, 1997.
In the city of Seto, large numbers of people, including those
responsible for the city's bid, began to gather in a local hall from around
7 p.m. to watch the voting via a satellite television link. The final count
was not completed until after 1 a.m. Japan time on June 13.
The tension mounted as each vote was counted, and the crowd of
about 800 erupted with cheers as BIE President Ole Philipson counted the
forty-first vote for Japan, indicating that more than one-half of the 81
countries eligible for voting had chosen Aichi. Everyone leapt to their
feet and clasped hands with anyone within reach. The mood of joy was
expressed in endless "Banzai" cheers that reverberated through the
The ceremonial broaching of a sake barrel in front of the hall
attracted a huge crowd eager to toast the decision with a taste of
excellent sake. "Now I have to stay alive until 2005," said a man in his
seventies. Another person remarked that people in Aichi had not experienced
such joy since their local professional baseball team, the Nagoya-based
Chunichi Dragons, won the championship in 1988.
The vote was a two-member race between Seto and Calgary, Canada. A
close result was expected, but Japan wound up scoring a landslide win of 52
votes to 27. The victory was the culmination of nine years of effort since
the launching of Seto's bid in 1988. In addition to a determined campaign
involving the governments of Aichi Prefecture and Seto City and the
business sector, the drive was also boosted by wide-ranging community
support. This support is attributed to the fact that people empathize with
Aichi's future-oriented concept for EXPO 2005, which will move away from
traditional development-centered themes and focus instead on the
coexistence of humans and nature.
The long campaign was led by Aichi Governor Reiji Suzuki.
Expressing his joy at the realization of his cherished dream, Suzuki spoke
of the heavy responsibility that comes with the decision. "I'm very happy
we won, but this doesn't mean we can sit back and relax now. There are
plans for a series of projects that will boost the Aichi economy, including
a new offshore airport, the second Tomei-Meishin Expressway network, and a
maglev train system (the Linear Central Shinkansen bullet train). We must
ensure that these projects are implemented. We also need to prepare
detailed plans for EXPO 2005."
Having succeeded in its bid for the exposition, Aichi now finds
itself on the starting blocks for a new race.
Aichi's victory cannot be welcomed unconditionally, though;
opponents of the plan claim that expositions cause great damage to the
natural environment. Obviously such views must be taken into account during
the planning stages. The aim of the exposition is to offer ideas for the
creation of a model society for the twenty-first century that attains
harmony with the environment. In this context, the ability to accommodate
environmentalist viewpoints will have an important bearing on the success
of the exposition. The real battle lies ahead.
Aichi's EXPO 2005 concept calls for a six-month run starting on
March 25 and ending on September 25, 2005. It will be one of the biggest
events at the turn of the next century and is expected to attract 25
An Opportunity to Solve Humankind's Problems
Governor, Aichi Prefecture
I am profoundly grateful that BIE member nations chose Aichi to host EXPO
2005 at the June 1997 general assembly meeting. I believe that this support
can be attributed to support for our theme for the exposition and to
expectations other countries have of Japan.
Throughout the 150-year history of the international exposition
movement, EXPOs have served as mirrors of their times. As global-scale
events, they have contributed to human progress and global peace. The
purpose of EXPO 2005 will be to gather knowledge and ideas from throughout
the world in an effort to find solutions to the various problems
confronting humanity today.
The theme will be "Beyond Development: Rediscovering Natur's
Wisdom." We will use nature's wisdom to create a new model community.
Specifically, we plan to make full use of the natural topography of the
Seto region and construct durable facilities that can later be used for
other purposes to combine our hosting of the EXPO with long-term regional
We will also use telecommunications technology to create direct
international links that will break down the barriers of time and distance,
enabling people everywhere to participate. We intend EXPO 2005 to be
totally different from any previous exposition. It will be the culmination
of efforts we make at the regional level, and we are determined to leave
behind a proud legacy that will be handed down to future generations.
Preparations for the exposition will be paralleled by the
development of new transportation infrastructure, including a new
international airport. We want to develop Aichi into a global hub for the
exchange of culture and technology and to turn it into a truly affluent
region where people live in harmony with nature.
We look forward to continued cooperation of people throughout the
world as we work to ensure the success of EXPO 2005. And we look forward to
meeting you all in Aichi in 2005.
Governor Suzuki is swarmed by reporters after Japan was declared the host of EXPO 2005.
New Concept to Build the World Anew
Member, Committee for the 2005 World Exposition, Japan
Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of Tokyo
I chaired the group that developed the concept for the Aichi exposition.
The theme that we chose, "Beyond Development: Rediscovering Nature's
Wisdom," focuses on the role of humankind in the twenty-first century.
Photos by Yumiko Komori
The invention of agriculture and livestock farming resulted in the
creation of a sphere of human activity within a system we call Earth.
However, since humanity is just one element of this system, we cannot
continue to expand indefinitely. In the next century, the world's human
population will reach 10 billion. The problems that we will face relating
to the environment, resources and energy, population, and food will be
difficult to overcome. It may be impossible for all of humanity to enjoy
the lifestyles and affluence of the past.
During the glory days of the Apollo program, we looked to space as
the new frontier. However, the massive cost of space exploration has placed
limits on that dream. Nor can we find real answers to our problems in the
virtual, purely informational world of multimedia and the Internet. A human
being has a mind and a body. We cannot find fulfillment in the world of the
brain (cyberworld) alone.
How can we make use of the cyberworld in the real world? We can
learn the wisdom of nature from the real world and use the resources of the
cyberworld to delve into what being a human is all about. We can then build
our world anew. This bold, ambitious experiment will be the concept for the
The exposition will be sited in the hills of Seto City. Since
ancient times the people of Japan have coexisted with nature, and we have
learned much from nature. As an island nation, we have limited resources.
Unlike continental cultures, we have always lived with the finite. Japan is
like a miniature version of Spaceship Earth. Japan also has a vast
storehouse of technological knowledge. These characteristics make Japan the
ideal host for the first world exposition of the twenty-first century.
In the past we have tended to discuss environmental issues in
somewhat passive terms as the consequences of pollution and other ills. In
the century to come, we will need to approach environmental issues from
perspectives that encompass all temporal and spatial considerations,
including ways they relate to the universe, the planet, life, humanity, and
their respective histories. This is an easy thing to say and obviously much
harder to carry out. But I have high expectations that Aichi will make bold
attempts to meet this challenge. This is why I am eager to invite young,
energetic people to help us stage the exposition.
An International Pottery Center
Mayor, City of Seto
The city of Seto, which will be the venue for EXPO 2005, is located 20
kilometers northeast of Nagoya and has a population of 130,000. It has a
pottery industry that goes back 13 centuries and boasts a beautiful natural
environment covering 70% of its area.
Photos by Tadashi Aizawa
For the exposition, we aim to take full advantage of these
characteristics to create a gathering place for world-class researchers,
engineers, and artists. One such meeting place will be the World Ceramic
Art Village, which Seto is planning to build. It will be not only a forum
for technology exchange but also a place where potters and prospective
potters can live together and engage in creative activities. It could
become an international center for exchange in the field of pottery.
One key theme of EXPO 2005 will be the natural environment, which
is still very much intact in Seto. There has tended to be a problematic
link between expositions and environmental damage. This does not mean,
however, that we should simply leave the environment untended; this will
prevent us from discovering the path to humanity's coexistence with nature
in the century to come.
Through the exposition in Seto, we hope to prove that to achieve a
harmonious relationship with nature in the twenty-first century, we must
find approaches that enable people to enjoy civilized lifestyles while
minimizing the load imposed on the natural environment.
Our goals are to provide an opportunity for people from every
nation to focus their knowledge and wisdom on the common problems of
humanity, to establish long-term approaches to environmentally sound
community development, and to explore new approaches to coexisting with
nature. Achievements in these areas will be used to build a better future
for all of us. I hope that the exposition will help us find ways to build
our world anew.
A Grass-Roots Review of Community Development
Civic moment leader
Our group comprises around 140 ordinary salaried workers, civil servants,
and self-employed people who are concerned about building a better future
for the city of Seto.
Photos by Tadashi Aizawa
The city's bid to host the 2005 World Exposition was a good
opportunity to take a renewed look at Seto. Had the city not been a
candidate, we probably wouldn't have made the effort to think seriously
about what's good for our community.
Our group, called Mirai Sozo: 21 Seto Shimin no Kai, split into a
number of working groups, such as those to support the bidding effort and
to discuss the content of the exposition, and through them we learned what
we as residents can do to make our city a better place.
Discussions about whether we should invite the EXPO here were often
heated. Most of us supported the idea but had a few reservations. Since it
was going to be held in our backyard, we obviously had great interest in
how it was shaping up. The themes for the EXPO include references to the
coexistence of humans and nature and to the future of ceramics culture. We
discussed these themes and came up with our own recommendations.
They were summarized into a report, which we painstakingly put
together with our own hands. We submitted it to members of the bidding
committees of both the city and prefectural governments and also to
officials of the International Bureau of Expositions. We also mailed it to
BIE member countries. The fact that we were able to express our views
directly to officials involved with the exposition was a source of great
joy for us.
The run of EXPO 2005 is six months, but we also have to think about
what happens afterwards. And we also have to get citizens actively involved
in the preparatory stages; an EXPO is not something you can organize over
night. There's a lot that we can do at the grass-roots level, like
beautifying neighborhoods and holding pottery festivals. Such activities
should steadily help build up enthusiasm for the exposition.
Chubu Goes Global
The Chubu district lies roughly in the center of the Japanese archipelago
and includes such prefectures as Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Shizuoka, and Nagano.
One of its distinctive features is its mountainous terrain, being home to
the Japanese Alps. It is blessed with beautiful mountains, crystal-clear
waters, and abundant wildlife.
The mountainous terrain and bountiful nature will be put to maximum
use when Nagano hosts the Olympic Winter Games from February 7 to 22 next
year. "One of the Nagano Games" principal goals is Homage to Nature," said
public relations director Akio Yoshida of the Nagano Games organizing
committee,"and we've been building Olympic facilities and making
preparations with this in mind. The fruits of this labor will soon be
displayed to the world when the Games begin."
"Since the EXPO 2005 theme--'Beyond Development: Rediscovering
Nature's Wisdom'--is quite similar to ours, we'll be following the
preparations for the exposition with great interest and expectation,"
Yoshida added,"and we hope that we'll gain new insights on how global
environmental problems can be dealt with."
Prior to the start of the Nagano Games, a new Shinkansen service
will be inaugurated between Tokyo and Nagano. Thus, lack of ready access
will no longer be a limiting factor for mountainous Nagano. In a similar
way, the BIE decision to award EXPO 2005 to Aichi will spur a number of
major construction projects in the region, like a 24-hour airport on
reclaimed land off the shores of Tokoname.
The Chubu district will come much closer to the rest of the world,
and through major international events like the Olympic Games and the World
Exposition, it should become increasingly dynamic in the years ahead.
Aichi International Plaza Opens in Nagoya
A new center of international exchange for the roughly 110,000 foreign
residents in Aichi Prefecture was opened by the Aichi International
Association in June 1997. Called the Aichi International Plaza, it is
located right next to Nagoya Castle in the Sannomaru District of Nagoya,
where prefectural and municipal government offices are clustered. It has a
very pleasant view of the castle and its lush, green surroundings.
An opening ceremony attended by Aichi Governor Reiji Suzuki was
held on June 17. And a commemorative symposium was held later that day on
the theme of "From Aichi to the World.
The keynote speaker was Satoko Akio, a Nagoya-born television
reporter. "The movers and shakers of Japan in the twenty-first century will
be those in big cities outside of Tokyo," she predicted, "and Nagoya has a
good chance of becoming the country's biggest hub. Aichi has long been a
center of traditional industry and has a vast accumulation of know-how in
creating hardware. From now on, it should acquire software skills as well
to enhance its attractiveness."
The address was followed by a panel discussion among American-born
and Canadian-raised columnist John Gathright, Singaporean newspaper
columnist Loke Pooi-choon, and Nagoya publisher Sakuichi Amano. Discussion
naturally focused on the 2005 World Exposition, and many unique and
humor-filled suggestions were offered from international perspectives.
On the weekend of June 21 and 22, the plaza hosted a festival in
cooperation with the Aichi Prefectural Government and the Japan
International Cooperation Agency. The plaza is housed on the first two
floors of the Sannomaru Annex Building of the Aichi Prefectural Government
and has a lounge, information counter, library, volunteer room, language
classroom, meeting room, and other facilities.
Various fun-filled events for the entire family took place at the
plaza during the festival, such as exhibits of the activities of
international exchange groups, bazaars, panel exhibitions of international
cooperation efforts, and trial fittings of the traditional costumes of