The government will allocate ¥80 million to translate Japanese books into English as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to boost the country’s image in foreign countries, officials said on Wednesday.

A panel of seven Japanese intellectuals, including university professors and former government officials, will select candidate books over the next month. The government will then subsidize the translation work and publication costs, the officials said.

The Abe Cabinet has recently increased spending for overseas public relations efforts. This project is part of that campaign, they said.

The intellectuals held their first gathering at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday. During the meeting, one of them lamented that the number of books about China in foreign languages has recently far surpassed those about Japan, according to two government officials.

“Books will be selected to call attention to positive aspects of Japan,” one of the officials said, adding that the size of the budget is far larger than similar government projects in the past.

Among the members of the committee are Akemi Itsuji, a professor of children’s literature at Shirayuri College in Tokyo, former Cultural Affairs Agency chief Seiichi Kondo and Keiko Chino, a senior writer at the conservative Sankei Shimbun.

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