Cool Japan Initiatives

cool Japan(Yomiuri Shinbun)-Aiming to expand the global market for Japanese goods and culture, Cool Japan Fund Inc. will invest 2 billion yen in two new companies.

The public-private fund announced Thursday it will invest 1 billion yen each in MCIP Holdings for creating TV programs and Anime Consortium Japan Inc. (ACJ) for distributing anime online.

Many japanese companies have made efforts separately to increase “fans of Japan,” but with the latest move, Cool Japan FUnd will give unified support for such efforts in overseas expansion.

Launched by companies such as Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. and Dentsu Inc., MCIP has a capital of about 2.1 billion and targets Asian markets.

For the markets in Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, the company plans to produce and broadcast TV programs in which Japanese and local idols and celebrities appear together and hold events for young women.

In addition to creating programs jointly with local TV stations, the company is also considering establishing theaters in those countries in cooperation with Aeon Mall Co.

At Thursday’s press conference in Tokyo, MCIP President Shizuko Yokote, who previously worked for Yoshimoto, spoke of her ambition.

“With strategies rooted in those local nations, we’d like to have Japanese culture penetrate over there and contribute to expanding the market for Japanese companies in Asia,” Yokote said.

ACJ, the other company to receive investment from Cool Japan Fund, was sponsored by several companies, including Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., and has capital of about 5 billion yen.

As Japanese anime series are popular globally, the company plans to set up a fee-based website dedicated to distributing such series in multiple languages, including English.

The company also plans to start a mail-order service to sell goods from Japanese anime series.

Cool Japan Fund was established in November last year mainly to promote Japanese culture under a special law.

In addition to the government, banks, advertising agencies and department stores among others have invested in the fund.

This is a really cool initiative and Japanese government is sponsoring this to boost the tourism to combat the country’s stagnant economy over the past two decades. Japan is known for automakers (Toyota, Honda etc), high technology but Sony that used to be powerful has been struggling and the country needs to do something to boost the market, encourage foreigners to travel to Japan and spend money. 

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