Ground preparation has officially begun for the integrated resort (IR) in Osaka, but the start of this construction is marred by issues that have already caused delays in the construction of the foreign pavilion for the 2025 expo. The work on the man-made island located in Osaka Bay, Yumeshima, started less than 500 days before the scheduled opening of the expo on April 13, 2025. The “troubled event” is facing labor shortages and rising costs, casting doubt on whether the IR can be built on time.
The first phase of the ground preparation involves pouring cement into the ground at a 21-hectare area on Yumeshima to prevent liquefaction and firm up the base where the casino facilities will be built. The liquefaction countermeasures are estimated to be completed by the end of the fiscal year starting in April 2027, at a cost of $173.4 million. Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka, revealed that full-scale construction of the resort is scheduled to begin in the spring of next year.
The IR, a joint project between MGM Resorts Int. and ORIX, will include shopping areas, hotels, congress facilities, and a casino. Construction will continue concurrently with liquefaction countermeasures, and the IR is expected to open in the fall of 2030. Cost concerns persist, with an increase in the cost of transporting construction materials contributing to the rise in overall expenses for both the expo and the IR.
Osaka entered into an agreement with ORIX and MGM, allowing them to halt the project if expenses continue to rise. The operator of the IR will bear the risk of demand fluctuation and will have to pay a withdrawal fine if they remove themselves from the project. The IR is projected to generate ¥520 billion in income per year, with 80% coming from the casino within the IR.
The construction of the IR, including the liquefaction countermeasures, will occur during the 6-month expo, which is expected to attract over 28.2 million visitors, including 3.5 million foreigners.