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I have appointed Pikachu and Hello Kitty as Ambassador to promote the City of Osaka for the 2025 Expo host city. pic.twitter.com/mCkiCl5T5j— KONO Taro (@konotaromp) November 29, 2017
Osaka hopes to be the host city of the exposition, which occurs every five years and aims to raise awareness and build solutions to global issues.
“I would like for you to represent Japan and (promote) the attraction of Osaka inside and outside of the country,” Kono said as he was appointing Hello Kitty and Pikachu.
The Japan Times said the characters will be used for pamphlets and gifts promoting the city’s bid to host the event.
The Hello Kitty character was produced by a Japanese company and first appeared in 1974. Pikachu was also created by a Japanese company and made its first appearance in the Japanese Pokémon TV series in 1996. The two characters have since become global sensations and can be seen everywhere from games and toys to makeup and beauty.
Japan is one of four countries running for the honor to host the World Expo. France, Russia, and Azerbaijan are also competing. The International Bureau of Expositions will elect the host country in November 2018.
Japan is running under the theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives.” If selected as the host city, the 2025 expo would be from May 2025 to November 2025.
The next World Expo will take place in Dubai from Oct. 2020 and April 2021 under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
Brianna Stone is a reporter and digital producer. Her work has been published by the Austin American-Statesman, the Daily Dot, and USA Today.