A visit to the sparkling new IR at Osaka Yumeshima could be considerably less entertaining if it becomes a major hassle to get on and off of the relatively isolated island where it is located. Developers continue to point to transportation access as a key challenge going forward, perhaps especially during the six months of the 2025 World Expo.
Osaka city estimates that as many as 285,000 people may try to visit Yumeshima on a daily basis during the period of the World Expo, with about 60% of them arriving by public transportation such as trains and shuttle buses, and the other 40% by private car or reserved tour buses.
There are, of course, already plans to extend railways to the island and to expand the surface roads and bridges from four lanes to six lanes, but that may not prove adequate to the actual transportation needs at peak times.
Even now there are many heavy trucks servicing the container terminal on the island, which will still be there when the island’s development is complete.
Some relief may be offered by boat links. Osaka city has decided, for example, that the main boat and ship terminals will be placed on the north-facing coast of Yumeshima, directly in front of the anticipated IR facility. This terminal will be 1350 meters wide and 100 meters deep, or of sufficient size to host an 160,000-ton luxury liner.
Yumeshima development is, however, gaining more support from the national business community with Keidanren Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi making a personal tour of the island on January 30. He commented, “It is important to treat this as a national project, with members of the political world, administration, business community, and academia joining forces.”
In this connection, the “Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition” was launched on the 30th with Nakanishi as its inaugural head. Its membership includes high-powered figures of the political and business worlds, including both Governor Ichiro Matsui and Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura.
The headquarters office is being established on the 43rd floor of Cosmo Tower, overlooking Yumeshima from nearby Sakishima. (AGB Nippon)