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Construction workers at expo site: All waste and no dreams

Construction of the “Grand Roof,” known as the “Ring,” a symbol of the 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo, is under way in Osaka. (The Asahi Shimbun)

OSAKA—Organizers of the 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo are predicting a bright future for the site, one filled with visitors, economic windfalls and a sense of unity for the entire nation.

But some on the front lines of the construction work on Yumeshima island do not share that enthusiasm.

“This is just going to waste,” a worker in his 20s said at the site in November. “That’s what I’m thinking while working.”

The expo has come under enormous criticism, particularly over its ballooning costs.

Now, grumblings are being heard on Yumeshima, or dream island, by the construction workers toiling under pressure to meet their strict deadlines.

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Yumeshima is a man-made island across the water from the Universal Studios Japan theme park and the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.

The worker, who lives in Osaka Prefecture, has been involved in building Yumeshima Station on the island as part of the Osaka Metro Chuo Line extension.

As an employee of a subcontractor of a major general contractor, he is on site five days a week.

Construction for the expo is proceeding at a rapid pace. Large parts of the island are closed to the public.

The island was reclaimed from incinerated ash and dredged sediment generated from a river bottom. It is at risk of soil contamination, liquefaction and land subsidence.

Every day, vehicles of electric and plumbing companies and trucks carrying construction materials enter and exit the island.

A cloud of dust rises from the dirt roads when vehicles pass by. There are no large buildings on the island that can block the north wind blowing through the area. When the soil is wet, it sticks to

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