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Banks Commit to Cool Japan Fund

Private sector ready to join Japanese gov't content export initiative

TOKYO — Two major Japanese banks, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, are expected to underwrite a government-backed fund to support exports of cultural products, including cartoons, films, music, food and fashion, under the banner of “Cool Japan.”
 
The decision to launch the fund was made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government in June, but the names of two banks backing in it have only now been announced. The fund will initially be capitalized at $607 million (JPY60 billion), with the government kicking in $507 million and the private sector the rest. Official launch is expected this fall.
 
Details about the fund, including the amounts ponied up by each investor, have yet to be announced. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, however, said that that it will promote a consortium of various types of “Cool Japan” export businesses, including distributors, manufacturers and retailers, as well as help them establish business bases abroad.
 
Mizuho, on the other hand, intends to offer both financing and personnel support to clients interested in expanding into overseas markets, with a focus on traditional arts and crafts.
 
In June 2010 The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) set up a Creative Industries Promotion Office to coordinate efforts aimed at upping cultural exports under the government’s “Cool Japan” banner. In addition to traditional arts and crafts, the government has included pop culture products, including cartoons and feature film,  in its “Cool Japan” promotional plans. Among recent CIPO initiatives was support for exhibitor booths, seminars and presentations at the recently ended Japan Expo USA held at the Santa Clara Convention Center August 23-25. 

Separately, pay-TV broadcaster Sky Perfect JSAT last week unveiled plans for a pan-Asian Japanese channel that it will launch later this year with content partners in Japan and broadcast partners in Indonesia and Thailand.

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