'Cool Japan' ambassadors to be named

'Cool Japan' ambassadors to be named
Tokyo's skyline, Japan.
PHOTO: Zuji

So-called Japan connoisseurs overseas will be included on the Cabinet Secretariat's list of those to be named official goodwill ambassadors as a way to help disseminate Japanese culture to the world under the new "Cool Japan" strategy plan.

The Cool Japan Promotion Council approved the plan on Wednesday.

The government and private sector jointly put forward the strategy to promote prominent Japanese cultural items and services such as fashion, food and local brands outside Japan. It is likely to later include the plan in its growth strategy.

The hope of advertising Japan via non-Japanese is to encourage more visitors to Japan leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Currently, ministries and agencies independently delegate foreigners as "Japan connoisseurs" or "Japanese admirers" to promote the charm of Japan overseas, but such measures have been said to be "lacking a sense of unity and are not sufficiently effective."

While consolidating the information of Japan connoisseurs, the government is set to compile a list of Japanese who have the know-how to host foreign tourists and engage in other tourism promotion tactics. It will also list those who are skilled at disseminating information. It will open special consultation booths for local tourism agencies and bodies who are willing to be involved in projects targeting foreign tourists and dispatch the experts to them.

The new strategy also includes an idea for the government to support projects involving the private sector. For example, a so-called graduate school of food will be established in Tokyo to help teach about Japanese food and sake, out of concern that various inauthentic dishes are being passed off as Japanese food to take advantage of the "washoku boom."

The new fish market in Toyosu, Koto Ward, Tokyo, is to be used as a hub of culinary cultural promotions, since markets such as Tsukiji Market are popular among foreign visitors.

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