Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to get the ‘Cool Japan’ concept going, as the government held the first council meeting for its promotion on March 4. The concept aims to develop Japan’s uniqueness in terms of anime, fashion and other cultural traditions abroad, effectively increasing exports of these products. This is in line with one of Abe’s key policy measure to nurture related industries and transform them into major export businesses.
Abe said that he plans to establish a public-private entity that would focus on this endeavor, and that a bill for such will be submitted to the Diet soon enough. He added that in the draft budget for fiscal 2013, there is already an allocation of 50 billion yen (approx. $535 million), meant as capital for said entity. He thereafter requested “concrete results” from the council. According to an official from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in charge of the ‘Cool Japan’ campaign, they believe that consumers in emerging economies become interested in foreign culture as their standard of living improves. He said that the campaign hopes to integrate the brand power of Japan in those countries.
The members of the council tasked to oversee the project include its chairman Tomomi Inada, a minister who will be in charge of the ‘Cool Japan’ strategy, and senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries of related ministries. Experts outside of the government like songwriter and music producer Yasushi Akimoto, and fashion designer Junko Koshino are likewise part of the committee.