Remember all the talk of a new “Cool Japan Strategy” which aimed to export Japan’s “coolness” abroad. Well, on May 28, the Japanese government’s Cool Japan Promotion Committee announced its action plan!
The Cool Japan Strategy is aimed at promoting the spread of Japanese culture abroad, focusing on modern popular culture as well as food culture. It’s a pretty big deal for the government and makes an appearance in the Abe Administration’s economic growth strategy. Ideas that have found their way into the plan include training Japanese goods experts as “food evangelists” to spread the the faith abroad, and international popularity contests for anime characters. One of the suggestions for promoting the strategy is having the Prime Minister issue a “declaration of the founding of Cool Japan”. Perhaps even the PM himself could get into the spirit and don a costume. I’m sure the extra expense wouldn’t be an issue considering that, including what was implemented in last year’s supplementary budget, the expected cost is already said to be around 84 billion yen (US$834 million).
From February to May of this year, the committee and subcommittees have met six times and has been joined by Akimoto Yasushi, the producer responsible for creating idol group AKB48, and Koshino Junko, one of Japan’s most highly acclaimed designers. The plan now includes 19 items, six of which are brand new. After the meeting, Inada Tomomi, minister for the Cool Japan Strategy, emphasized the importance of pulling together strategies from all the different ministries and combining them into one plan.