• Hiroshima

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Regarding the July 14 article “Aso’s ‘manga museum’ plan cool with Aussies“: After all the friction over whaling between Australia and Japan, it’s good to read about something that generates positive feelings among comics fans in both countries. Japan needs to attract millions of tourists every year to stimulate its economy, but building another museum in Tokyo won’t go very far toward that goal. The old approach of simply constructing more museums seems rather unsophisticated.

A modern and sophisticated approach should be comprehensive and focus on all the assets that Japan already possesses — its natural beauty, traditional culture and its historical buildings and towns dating back centuries. It would require the government to address the need to (1) undo environmental damage and remove “visual clutter” that makes formerly beautiful places unattractive; (2) repeal laws that effectively stop cities and towns from burying unsightly power and phone lines; (3) reduce inheritance taxes that force people to sell precious historical properties to developers simply to pay off taxes; (4) create tax incentives for those who preserve old buildings and provide space for traditional artists while encouraging owners to discreetly modernize buildings with conveniences; and (5) educate politicians and business associations on how broadly a truly modern tourist industry would stimulate the economy in the long term.

A fully developed, nationwide, modern tourist industry would create the need for thousands of highly skilled professionals such as accountants, architects, landscape designers, lawyers, hotel managers, entertainers, traditional crafts people and so on.

grant mahood

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