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Japan: Govt Aims to Promote Japan at Annual Meetings of IMF, World Bank
Source: yomiuri.co.jp
Source Date: Saturday, October 06, 2012
Focus: E-Education
Country: Japan
Created: Oct 09, 2012

The government is hoping to attract more tourists by seizing the chance to promote Japan at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Tokyo from Tuesday.

With the public and private sector acting together, the government aims to showcase the attractiveness of the nation's culture through various kinds of events.

It also hopes such activities will lead to hosting more international meetings in the future, at a time when many countries have campaigns to attract similar gatherings.

The government also aims to restore the image of Japan, which was damaged following the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent disasters.

The annual meetings--being held in Tokyo for the first time in 48 years--are formal gatherings of financial and central bank chiefs from the 188 member countries and make up the highest decision-making bodies of the two organizations.

About 20,000 people involved in the meetings are expected to visit the country.

The main agenda of the meetings is usually annual and audit reports. At the same time, there are also about 200 seminars and events in which key figures from various countries speak, often attracting public attention.

Related events will begin from Tuesday at several venues including Tokyo International Forum, a main event venue, in Marunouchi, Tokyo.

"[The events] will be a great opportunity to promote the attractiveness of Japan," a Tourism Agency official said.

The agency plans to hold a "Japan Parade" in which about 600 performers will display folk entertainment such as Awa Odori dance, Yosakoi dance and Namahage demon street performances in cooperation with Mitsubishi Estate Co. on Marunouchi's Naka-dori street on Oct. 13.

There also will be tasting sessions of regional dishes, traditional craft demonstrations and a bar offering sake from across the country on the first floor of Marunouchi Building from Monday through Oct. 14.

The Tokyo metropolitan government will provide meeting participants with free JR and subway train tickets as well as museum tickets.

It also plans to hold sightseeing tours to Tokyo Skytree and Asakusa in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

"There will be many influential and important figures. We hope they will promote Japan after they return to their countries," said a Tokyo metropolitan government official.

Meanwhile, the Zenginza-kai, made up of shop owners and neighborhood associations in Ginza, Chuo Ward, printed about 50,000 copies of an English brochure introducing shops and restaurants in the area.

Mitsui Fudosan Co. and other companies have also prepared events to promote Japan.

Meeting participants will be able to experience free rickshaw rides in the Nihonbashi district, try on kimono and take part in a geisha cruise on a Japanese party boat around Tokyo Bay from Tuesday through Oct. 14.

The agency plans to survey the participants at hotels close to the venue, and analyze data such as where they visited and their purchasing trends during their stay.

The agency plans to use the information to attract future international meetings.

International meetings have a major impact on the overall economy. According to estimates, the ripple effect on the economy by an international meeting with 10,000 participants is about 3.8 billion yen.

While China, South Korea and other Asian nations have been hosting lately, Japan's share of international meetings taking place in Asia and Oceania dropped significantly from 51 percent in 1991 to 21 percent in 2011.

MPD to tighten security
The Metropolitan Police Department will enhance its security readiness during the meetings, stationing as many as 5,000 police officials per day.

As a precaution against terrorist bombings, the MPD will also use police dogs and strictly enforce traffic laws around the venue.

Observers pointed out concerns of terrorist attacks targeting key figures such as finance ministers from participating countries. In response to this, the MPD conducted 250 drills in preparation for terrorist attacks. When the key figures travel, MPD security officials will accompany them.

To help deter the possibility of terrorist bombings or radical protests, many uniformed police officers will be deployed around the venue. The MPD's explosive-ordnance disposal unit and riot police will also stand by.

Additionally, the MPD will tighten security at Haneda Airport and JR Tokyo Station and other major stations.

Some lanes of Hibiya-dori avenue and other streets around Tokyo International Forum will be closed during the meetings.

The road along the JR elevated railway to the east side of Tokyo International Forum will be closed to vehicle traffic from Thursday through Oct. 13.
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