On 9 April the Cool Japan Promotion Conference and Pop Culture Subcommittee was assembled to discuss and strategize ways to encourage growth in Japan’s popular culture sector. The session dealt with all of Japan’s notable influences around the world from Gundams to soccer.

One day prior to the conference. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshimitsu Motegi had stressed about the Cool Japan Initiative, “A long time ago the exports made by Japan in the realm of pop-culture was limited to the televised drama Oshin but has now grown to everything from AKB to Nadeshiko [women’s national soccer team]. I want this success to endure.”

The subcommittee was conceived by Chairman Ichiya Nakamura, Graduate School Professor at Keio University.

One plan being considered under the Cool Japan Initiative was to select “International Pop Culture Zones.” These areas would receive tax breaks for the production of anime, manga, and related merchandise.

Okinawa and Kyoto were granted this designation but will have to wait and see if it’s feasible for them to get the economic benefits of it.

Also, the subcommittee will appoint a team of Pop-Culture Ambassadors who will accompany Prime Minister Abe to international conferences, give a promotional “Pop Culture Declaration,” and probably make me chuckle like a moron in the process.

Synthetic voice software character (vocaloid) Hatsune Miku was reported to be on the ballot as well as a Mobile Suit Gundam. A vote is to be held in which the top five characters will receive the appointment.

The Cool Japan Initiative is still in its early stages so it’s likely we’ll see more pop-culture programs in the future. Until then I can’t wait to see Prime Minister Abe get photos taken alongside Pikachu and Monkey D. Luffy at an upcoming G8 Summit.

If you’d like to learn more about the Cool Japan Project, keep up to date, or give them a piece of your mind here are some links to check out.

Offical website from the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry: Cool Japan (English)
Cool Japan on facebook (English and Japanese)
Cool Japan on Twitter (seems to be only Japanese)

Source: MSN Sankei News (Japanese)
Top Image: Cabinet Secretariat of Japan