Two big banks commit to funding ‘Cool Japan’ cultural export project


Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank will invest in a public-private “Cool Japan” fund designed to promote exports of cultural assets, including animated movies and traditional craft work.

By providing financial support, the two banks hope to aid the spread of Japanese goods and services overseas, including music, fashion, food and lifestyle products.

In June, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to set up the fund as part of its economic growth strategy, probably in the autumn.

The fund will initially be capitalized at about ¥60 billion. The government plans to invest ¥50 billion and get the rest from the private sector, with each company investing about a few hundred million yen to ¥1 billion.

The details might be announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as early as this month.

In addition to investing in the fund, Mizuho Bank plans to provide financing and human resources to local manufacturers of traditional and folk craft items who hope to enter overseas markets by giving their wares a modern design or technological twist.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust hopes to help businesses willing to launch large commercial facilities overseas by using its knowledge of real estate and trust operations. It also plans to lead the establishment of a cross-industry consortium of Japanese firms including manufacturers, retailers and distributors to promote the Cool Japan project.