<4> Thinking about the World Expo on the news of “Finland joining NATO” ①

1900年パリ万博のフィンランド館 Finnish Pavilion, 1900 Paris World Exposition

News about Finland joining NATO

It wasn’t until April 4, 2023, that news broke that Finland would join NATO. On the same day, Finland became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Finnish flag has already been hoisted on the national flag pole in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels.

It was, of course, the Russian threat that encouraged Finland to join NATO. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Russian threat theory has grown in Finland, which shares a long border with Russia that stretches 1,340 kilometers. Finland had previously been reluctant to join NATO and had preferred to remain neutral, but after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it changed its policy.

A major reason for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was that it was concerned about NATO’s eastward expansion. As a result, ironically, NATO’s eastward expansion was boosted.

Russia and Ukraine and the 2030 World Expo 

Now, speaking of Russia and Ukraine, both of them were actually candidates for the 2030 World Expo.

There are two types of International Exposition: “World Expo (International Registered Exhibition),” which is a large-scale Expo that is held once every five years, and “Specialised Expo (International Recognised Exhibition),” which is a relatively small scale that can be held only once between two World Expos.

Scheduled for 2030 is a large-scale “World Expo.”  The “World Expo” which will be held five years earlier, in 2025, is, of course, the “Osaka-Kansai Expo.”

Five countries had raised their hands over the holding rights of the “2030 World Expo“, and a fierce bidding war was unfolding.

The five countries were, Russia (host city, hereinafter referred to as, Moscow), South Korea (Pusan), Italy (Rome), Ukraine (Odesa), and Saudi Arabia (Riyadh).

On April 29, 2021, Russia submitted a candidacy letter to the 2030 World Expo to the BIE.
This made Russia the first country to bid for the 2030 World Expo.

The theme of Russia’s 2030 World Expo at the time of its candidacy was;

“Human Progress: A Shared Vision for a World of Harmony”

The Expo was planned to be held in Moscow, the capital, from April 27, 2030 to October 27, 2030.
Many people may have mixed feelings about this theme.

The subsequent military action taken by Russia (President Vladimir Putin) against Ukraine is very deplorable, but I hope that at least the people who are involved in, and promoted the Expo in Russia thought about this theme with a pure heart.

As already mentioned, Russia was the first country to bid for the 2030 World Expo.

The BIE stipulates that six months after the date on which the first bid was made is the deadline for candidatures for the Expo.

In other words, for the 2030 World Expo, the deadline is 5:00 pm CET (Central European Time) on October 29, 2021, six months after Russia submitted a candidacy letter on April 29, 2021.

South Korea (Busan) then ran on June 23, 2021, Italy (Rome) on October 7, and Ukraine (Odesa) on October 15, 2021.

On October 29, the deadline for the 2030 World Expo, when many people thought the Expo would be contested by the four countries above, Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) suddenly submitted a letter to the effect that it would run as a candidate.
It was handed over to Secretary General Dimitri Kerkentzes, and in the end, there were five candidates.

Russia withdraws its candidacy

However, Russia withdrew its candidacy about three months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February last year.

According to the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions) announcement on May 23, 2022, we can find the following news;

“The Russian Federation has notified the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) of its decision to voluntarily withdraw its candidature to organise World Expo 2030 in Moscow. In the letter addressed to the Secretary General of the BIE, Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin indicated the reasons for the withdrawal of the candidature and expressed his hope that the country will be a candidate to host an Expo in the foreseeable future. “

BIE did not mention this ” the reasons for the withdrawal of the candidature “, perhaps in order to maintain political neutrality.

Ukraine’s bid to host World Expo 2030 continues

Ukraine, on the other hand, continues its bid activities as of today.

There is also a website for the 2030 Odesa Expo, and on March 24th of this year (2023), the BIE Inquiry Mission visited Ukraine and reportedly finished its research work.

I wonder if the Ukrainian side thinks that there is still room for the World Expo to be held, if, by some move, the war ends early.

If that happens, it will give the Expo a new concept, commemorating the recovery from the war.

By the way, as already mentioned, Ukraine announced its candidacy on October 15, 2021, just before the deadline of October 29, 2021.

Ukraine Expo plan is as follows;

The theme of the Expo is “Renaissance. Technology. Future.
The venue is Odesa (at that time, it was still pronounced Odessa in Japan).
The Expo will be held from May 1st to October 31st, 2030.

Incidentally, the host country of the 2030 World Expo will be elected by secret ballot by BIE member countries at the 173rd BIE General Assembly to be held in November 2023, based on the principle of one country, one vote. .

This time, I was going to write about Finland and the World Expo, but since both Russia and Ukraine were running for the 2030 World Expo, I ended up focusing on their situation.

In the next part ②, we will look at the relationship between Finland and the Expo.