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January 29, 2010

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Benefits to host city endure

I will visit World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, bringing my family of more than 20 people, including my sons, daughters and grandchildren.

We in Aichi have experience in these grand-scale events after hosting the 2005 World Expo, which drew a larger-than-expected 22 million visitors. A world exposition can bring lasting benefits to its host, both from the standpoint of the economy and also from an enrichment of people's lives.

One benefit is the great improvement in environmental awareness. The 2005 World Expo Aichi, themed "The Wisdom of Nature," focused on environmental protection. We modified the theme and changed the site after an original plan by event organizers to turn a forested suburb into the Expo Park met community opposition.

Another benefit of Expo Aichi was a heightened awareness about garbage disposal and the introduction of recycling. Today our residents conscientiously sort their garbage into 11 types of bins and don't think it's any trouble at all. Expo Aichi was partially powered by electricity generated from processing garbage collected at the Expo site.

Another benefit was an advancement of the concept of volunteer services. We had a record 105,000 volunteers from all walks of life.

And last but not least, the Central Japan International Airport, completed in February 2005, has been a boon to Aichi's economy and to the prefecture's links with Shanghai and China as a whole.

It is now Japan's third-largest airport, linking 23 Japanese cities with 28 overseas destinations. Each week, there are 42 flights from Centrair to Shanghai.

The World Expo 2010 Shanghai China's theme "Better City, Better Life" poses the question in my mind: How will Shanghai look like in the future? Shanghai should be commended for having the foresight to raise this issue at the World Expo. It marks another step forward in the goal of harmonizing mankind and nature.

I believe many of my fellow citizens from Aichi are eagerly waiting for Shanghai's World Expo to open so they can visit the landmark exhibition. The Japan Pavilion there will showcase Aichi for about one week.


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