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February 6, 2010

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Water metropolis on show

I still have fresh memories of the great success of the global sports pageant in Beijing -- the 2008 Olympic Games. Soon, Shanghai will unveil World Expo 2010. As part the global focus of this event, China contacted every country in the world, inviting participation. As a result, a record number of nations and regions will be represented at this great event. I sincerely hope that this World Expo will become a common stage for all countries to share their wisdom and experience across many realms and will serve as an important landmark in the development of world peace and friendship.

Apart from traditional theme pavilions, government pavilions and corporate pavilions, this World Expo has created a special area for cities around the world to showcase the best of their ideas: the Urban Best Practice Area. This is the first time for a World Expo to feature city pavilions as a theme, and Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City will be the only Japanese representatives in this area in a joint exhibition.

The theme of the Osaka Pavilion is "An Environmentally Advanced City -- The Challenge of the Water Metropolis." What we hope to showcase is the progress we have made in turning from an urban area afflicted with serious pollution and other woes brought on by rapid industrialization and urbanization. We have employed advanced technologies to restore our urban area to the one of clear, blue skies and pristine rivers. We hope to share what we have learned with the whole world in Shanghai, a city that shares a similar background with ours.

Osaka is a city surrounded by water and features water-corridor-like streets. We are now undertaking renovation of our wharves and the illumination of our bridges. Last summer, Osaka hosted the Water Metropolis Osaka 2009 event to show visitors the fruits of our labors. We hope Osaka's exhibition at this World Expo will not only show visitors a panoramic picture of Osaka as a water metropolis full of charm, but also present the charms of the entire Kansai region, including neighboring areas of Osaka, to entice more visitors to come to the area.

The Osaka Pavilion consists of three major sections. The first section starts with Sakura Avenue, built with Japan's national flower, which is known as the landscape poem of spring in Osaka. Traveling through a tunnel made of the beautiful Japanese flowering cherry petals, visitors will arrive at the second section -- the Naniwa Space-Time Theater -- which highlights the co-existence of Osaka and water through splendid images. Next to this water-encircled theater is a giant scroll of historical images, which is famous for its paintings on gold screens and the largest gold coin in the world.

The third section of the pavilion will present the latest advances in environmental technologies, which provide hope for a "better life" in the future. Finally, the exhibition will offer a detailed introduction on resorts in the Kansai area that are no more than a one-day trip from Osaka. The Osaka Pavilion also displays the distinctive activities offered by the Kansai Corridor. This portion of the pavilion will stage exhibitions at certain hours of the day. Therefore, visitors will be surprised to be greeted by new elements even on second or third visits to the pavilion.

For many years, Osaka and Shanghai have maintained a friendship and our participation at World Expo 2010 will reinforce that relationship. The 1970 World Exposition in Osaka was a great success, and I believe World Expo 2010 Shanghai China will surpass even that. History may well look at our two expositions as the greatest in history. Just as Expo '70 left a deep imprint in the memories of the Japanese people, I believe World Expo 2010 will live forever in the hearts and pride of the Chinese people.

We hope Osaka's participation in this World Expo will further strengthen our friendly ties with China and nurture their development for decades to come.


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