Yoshimoto Kogyo Co., an Osaka-based entertainment management company, will join the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), Chairman Takashi Imai said Monday.

Yoshimoto, which has contracts with about 650 comedians, including the popular Sanma Akashiya and duo Downtown, runs vaudeville theaters and produces comedy shows for cable television and the Internet.

On May 21, Yoshimoto will become the first firm from the live entertainment industry to join Japan’s most powerful business group, which is made up of about 1,200 major companies and industrial-based organizations, according to Keidanren.

The company promotes similar business in South Korea, Shanghai and Taiwan.

“Yoshimoto has a great store of content for broadband online services,” Imai said. “It’s meaningful that a company like that join our group.”

The firm is expected to assist struggling manufacturers, which make up the bulk of Keidanren members, by contributing to Internet software development.

Keidanren asked Yoshimoto to join the group in early March.

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