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I admire the positive attitude of Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Hiroshi Mizohata, expressed in Judit Kawaguchi’s May 10 Words to Live by column.

However, he attributes the unrealized potential of tourism in Japan to the fact that “our domestic market was so huge, there was no need to look for customers outside it.” May I humbly suggest that another reason may be simply bad marketing?

I am thinking specifically of the ridiculous “Yokoso! Japan” campaign. Nobody overseas knows what “Yokoso” means. Why wasn’t something simple or alliterative used, as in the “Incredible India” campaign?

We know the answer to that, of course: Japanese people are in charge of coming up with such boneheaded campaigns, and lack the foresight to consult the target market – foreigners. The Japan Tourism Agency has much to learn from the marketing techniques of its Asian neighbors.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

laura holland

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