Starting March 25 and continuing through Sept. 25, Aichi, Japan, becomes host to the world with the first World Exposition in the 21st century. While previous Expo efforts have frequently focused on the most dynamic inventions and technology of their times, Japan intends to promote solutions to a variety of global issues, such as promoting alternative fuel sources, tackling global-warming and promoting a greater connection of natural surroundings.
Japan’s 2005 Expo plans to encourage new ways to live consciously in the 21st century with an attempt to rediscover “nature’s wisdom,” and finding balance between humanity and the environment. This ambitious format invites visitors to experience the Expo in three ways.
Exhibits like the Earth Vision, which presents the Earth for the first time as a 360-degree dynamic sphere. Also on display, the recently excavated extinct mammoth from Russia, whose arrival may have been made possible by global temperature changes melting frozen glaciers. Both exhibits help guests learn about and understand the natural world.
Creating an eco-friendly environment will also be a strong theme at this year’s expo. Innovations using alternative fuels include the experimental FCHV (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles). Expo buses (FCHV) running on a fuel producing no carbon dioxide or other harmful pollutants will shuttling visitors between arenas, while Biomass Plastic, a combination of plants and other organic fibers will be featured at the Expo’s food courts as tableware and eating utensils. Biomass Plastic is a highly biodegradable product that recycles itself after use and more importantly may reduce our dependency on oil. Perhaps most interesting, garbage from Expo visitors will be converted to power that will supply power to operate the Japan Pavilion.
“Consistent with its ‘Nature’s Wisdom’ theme, this exposition will represent an effort to suggest new modalities in our relationship with the environment,” said Toyoda Shoichiro. “All people everywhere need to live lives compatible with the environment, and we hope to contribute to enhanced compatibility. This being an inherent issue for all humanity, EXPO 2005’s achievements will live on as part of the global heritage long after the exposition ends.”
For entertainment, more than 120 different countries on five continents expect to participate in presenting art, culture and music for display. Music aficionados would be wise to seek out the “Love on Earth” project featuring many world-class performers on stage daily. Also featured are traditional Japanese art forms, Noh and Kyogen, which combine singing and dance originating for the Muromachi Period (1333-1573), and originally influenced both Kabuki and Bunraku.
Of course, no world exposition focusing on “nature” would be complete without cutting-edge technology and robots. New next-generation vehicles like IMTS (Intelligent Multimode Transit System), specially designed for the Expo, consist of low-emission buses that will automatically drive guests, unmanned to special sites at the Expo. Visitors should also keep an eye peeled for interactive robots capable of communicating with guests, cleaning the Expo’s grounds and, when it is time to relax, playing the trumpet. It’s true: technology has created synthetic hands and lips sensitive enough to perform a number of impressive tasks including musical performance.
In preparation of the event, Japan unveils its new international airport, Central Japan International Airport (Centrair), Feb. 17. The airport expects to support the nearly 10 million people in the local population and million more who are expected to attend the Expo.