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SK chief visits Japan to ask support for Busan’s Expo bid

Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Chey Tae-won (left) poses for a picture with Matsumoto Masayoshi, the president of Kansai Economic Federation, on Thursday in Japan. (KCCI)
Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Chey Tae-won (left) poses for a picture with Matsumoto Masayoshi, the president of Kansai Economic Federation, on Thursday in Japan. (KCCI)
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who doubles as chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held meetings with Japanese political and business leaders, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, to ask Tokyo’s support for South Korean port city Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo.

Chey stayed in Tokyo on Thursday and Friday, according to the KCCI -- the nation’s largest business lobby -- on Sunday.

On the first day, the KCCI chief met with Matsumoto Masayoshi, the vice chairman of the promotion committee of the 2025 World Expo Osaka. Masayoshi is known to have played a key role in elevating public awareness about the city’s Expo bid.

"There were a lot of difficulties in getting Japan designated as the host of the Expo during the early stages, as the event was mainly initiated by the city government. However, Korea is treating the expo as a national project from the beginning, and Korean business tycoons actively promoting the bid will have a great promotional effect,” Matsumoto said during the meeting.

Chey stressed that Busan’s Expo bid should not be a one-time event, saying “We will give rise to a new type of Expo which discusses common topics across generations and borders.”

Later in the day, Chey also participated in a meeting of the Asia Business Counsel. Launched in 2001, the forum aims to strengthen mutual cooperation and friendship among CEOs of major Asian companies.

During the meeting, Chey met with Kishida, who offered a keynote speech. It was the first time for the Japanese prime minister to hold a meeting with a South Korean chaebol leader since his inauguration in November last year.

During the meeting, the two leaders reportedly shared views on pending issues, including economic cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

The KCCI added that the chairman also held meetings with key Japanese government officials in charge of the Osaka expo and asked them to join forces to help Busan host the 2030 Expo.

Completing his two-day trip to Japan, Chey headed to the US, where he is scheduled to visit New York and Washington to inspect SK’s local operations and carry out promotional activities for the Expo bid.

The World Expo is renowned as one of the world's top three international events along with the World Cup and the Olympics. Its economic impact is estimated to reach 61 trillion won ($43 billion).

Adding to Busan, Riyadh of Saudi Arabia and Rome of Italy have also made bids. The host city will be decided by a secret vote held by 170 Bureau International des Expositions member countries in November next year.



By Lee Yoon-seo (yoonseo.3348@heraldcorp.com)
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