Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Can selling 'cool Japan' save the ailing economy and help avert a demographic disaster?

Hedinn Haroldsson
Teacher, 29 (Icelandic)
As a focal point for foreign policy, I think there will be no direct effect on the economy. I don’t really see a clear connection between “cool Japan” and the economy, but if people continue to create unique Japanese art, then people overseas will always be attracted to Japan.

Nobue Tanisawa
Fitness consultant, 37 (Japanese)
I think Japan should solve its problems by itself. We are not a colony. We already have a non-Japanese yokozuna (in sumo). The people of Japan need to take more responsibility for domestic issues, like paying more taxes so the government can deal with our problems more effectively.

Laurent Novatin (French)
Communications consultant, 27
Branding the country is a good idea but only if the government also creates programs to facilitate entry into the country and study of the language. Also, there needs to be more consideration as to whether the suggested branding will attract the kind of people who can contribute positively to the workforce.

Kengo Satos
Division manager, 27 (Japanese)
Japan has the most alienated youth in the world. We shouldn’t lose our roots and look so much to the West. We all have the potential to mend these so-called problems through improving immigration legislation and provide monetary and fiscal stimulus to domestic companies.

Tomomi Ochii
Model, 33 (Japanese)
When I hear the words “cool Japan,” I imagine a great concept that will drive Japan forward. However, in reality even if this concept attracts many foreign anime lovers, it will be difficult for them to integrate into the Japanese workforce without studying the language and without actual experience of the culture.

Andrew Otoshi
Student, 24 (American)
I think for many foreigners Japan is already “cool.” Instead of trying to draw more people to Japan, the focus should be on encouraging Japanese to travel, study and work abroad in order to gain and then incorporate foreign innovations and cultural practices that may be beneficial to the Japanese way of life.

Living outside Tokyo and interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp

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