The Challenge of Building the City of the Future: Osaka Expo and the Three Major Barriers Behind It

3 min readOct 16, 2023
Photo by Saj Shafique on Unsplash

The world was set to focus on Osaka, Japan, in 2025. The Osaka Expo was anticipated as a venue to share new technologies, cultures, and visions of the cities of the future. However, the journey towards its realization has proven to be more challenging than expected, with three major barriers standing in the way of the Expo’s success.

1. The Surge in Material Costs and Its Background

The conflict in distant Ukraine has had significant repercussions on Japan’s construction industry. Disruptions in the global supply chain have led to a sharp increase in material prices. As a result, many projects face the crisis of going over budget.

However, efforts are underway to develop new technologies and materials to overcome this crisis. Initiatives like the introduction of environmentally friendly building materials using renewable resources and local material procurement are gaining attention.

2. The Reality of Labor Shortages

Japan’s declining population and aging demographic have resulted in a severe labor shortage in the construction industry. The lack of craftsmen with traditional skills is particularly pronounced. To address this issue, the introduction of AI and robotic technology is being promoted.

This allows for more efficient and high-quality construction. Additionally, expanding the acceptance of technical interns from abroad is also being considered.

3. Improving the Working Environment and the 2024 Issue

Efforts to improve Japan’s working environment have had a significant impact on the construction industry. Restrictions on overtime work have made it difficult to carry out construction projects in the traditional hurried manner.

This issue, often referred to as the 「2024 problem,」 has led to the promotion of more planned construction progress and efficient work methods. New initiatives to protect the health and safety of workers and the introduction of technology for efficiency are being advanced.




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