METI wants pop culture to be key export

Kyodo News

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry appears to be getting serious about exporting pop culture.

The ministry plans to set up a new department with dozens of experts on the “Cool Japan” fad to promote exports of animation, manga, fashion, food and other cultural items as Japan attempts to profit from “soft power.”

The creation of the new unit is one of the organizational changes the ministry has listed for fiscal 2011.

The department will give financial aid to related firms and help them secure sales distributors overseas.

“We’d like send out ‘value’ overseas that can never be imitated by South Korea or China,” a ministry official said.

South Korea has a committee specializing in the overseas promotion of cultural products.