Japan offers harmony – and the world’s best toilets – at Expo

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The Independent Online

The people behind the official Japan Pavilion at May's World Expo in Shanghai have been busy promoting their building as a "breathing organism" but what the world really wants to hear about are the toilets.

As well as a government-funded pavilion ( www.expo-japan.jp) at the May 1 to October 31 Expo, a group of Japanese companies have banded together to produce a corporate pavilion for the event and its designers are claiming the facility will include the world's most comfortable and cleanest toilets.

According to Sakaiya Taichi, comprehensive producer of the Japan Industry Pavilion ( http://www.shanghai-expo-sangyoukan.jp), both the women's and men's toilet cubicles will boast "aromatic odors and 24-hour cleaning."

He said in a press release that people would feel "as happy and relaxed in the toilets as they would in a comfortable living room.''

Twenty-four Japanese companies coughed up three billion yen (24 million euros) to renovate an old workshop in Shanghai's Jiangnan Shipyard and create the Japan Industry Pavilion which will showcase the nation's technological achievements. Visitors will also be entertained by robots, organizers say.

Meanwhile, the official Japanese pavilion is being themed on the "harmony between the human heart and technology.''

And at 24-meters high, spread over 7,200 square meters and coming in at a cost of around 13 billion yen (105 million euros) - spread between the government and the private sector) - it will be one of Expo's largest.

"Japan has gathered the country's whole power for the Shanghai event,'' according to a spokesperson from the organizing committee.

Japan's pavilion will be split into three exhibits - representing the past, the present and the future. There will also be displays charting the long history of Japan's diplomatic envoys to China as well as performances by Japanese musicians and dancers.

The finishing touches are currently being applied to the Shanghai World Expo which has attracted participation from more than 200 nations and organizations. It is expected more than 70 million people will visit the World Expo during its run, most of them coming from within China itself.

MS

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