Japan's Prime Minister and Cultural Celebrities Welcome More Americans to Japan
Announcement of the Progress on Public Recognition of Japan as an International Tourism Destination
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) New York Office appealed their continued success in the growing number of international visitors to Japan and raised industry attentions to new destinations across Japan in the conjunction event with the top officials from the central government. This event coincided with the Japanese government official delegation's visit to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly, and the top member of the delegation, the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, made a major appearance in the event, which made this occasion the most significantly acclaimed tourism event ever organized in the United States.
To promote more varieties of destinations, JNTO hosted public figures as guest speakers from cultural fields in both Japan and the United States. They presented their familiar regions of Japan to the audience, and the JNTO president Ryoichi Matsuyama emphasized on further potential of Japan tourism toward the 2016 G7 Ise-Shima Summit Meeting and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
For economic revitalization particularly in less urban areas in Japan, tourism promotion has been a special public policy focus in the current administration under Mr. Abe. The Prime Minister signified importance of international tourism for Japan's regional revitalization and the boost for the upcoming international events that Japan will be hosting. He also welcomed more and more American visitors to Japan in order to deepen and develop mutual friendships.
Each guest speaker showcased different destinations: Mr. Hideki Matsui joined this event as Special Advisor to GM of the New York Yankees, and he presented his hometown in Ishikawa Prefecture, where many traditional arts and crafts are preserved to this day, and have been gaining more cultural interest from the world. He also introduced what he likes from the Japanese point of view, and some unique stories of how his former Yankee's teammates enjoyed Japan when they visited.
Representing the American perspective on Japan's cultural attraction, three Americans discussed their points of view: New Mexico native actress Charlotte Kate Fox, popular Japanese ramen noodle expert Ivan Orkin, and academic expert from Columbia University Clay Keaton. Through their rich local experience, they contribute to promotion of Japan tourism to the US market with special emphasis on less known destinations. Each speaker talked about their local cultural experience, which they strongly recommended to first-time visitors to Japan to discover the country's cultural attraction. All three speakers reached consensus on the high quality of public transportation, particularly the high speed train network known as the Shinkansen. Ms. Fox specifically recommended Hokkaido, Osaka and Hiroshima, where she spent an extensive time during the production of the television drama series that she played a main character. This television drama, titled “Massan,” became a huge national hit in Japan, with the drama based on the true story of a Scottish woman married to a Japanese whisky entrepreneur in the 19th century, and her story also included behind the scenes of Japan's quality-oriented craftsmanship for Japanese whisky manufacturing.
Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, stopped by the event during his extremely tight diplomatic schedule in New York City on his way to the United Nations General Assembly, expressing his personal enthusiasm for the progress of Japan tourism promotion in the US market, as well as his hope for further growth and a closer mutual relationship between the two countries to about 120 attendees in the audience from the travel industry in the US and Japan.
In the following reception, people from the US travel industry interacted with their Japanese counterparts, exchanging the latest information and business updates. The event showcased the bright industry future for both public and private sectors.
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