News Prime Minister Asō: Anime, Manga Are Part of Japan's Recovery
posted on 2009-04-09 13:10 EDT
In a Thursday evening press conference, Japanese Prime Minister Tarō Asō promised to add 4 million jobs in his country by 2020, with 500,000 coming from the country's so-called "soft power" in anime, manga, and similar areas of culture. He also vowed that the country's real gross domestic product will increase by 120 trillion yen (US$1.2 trillion) by 2020. According to Asō, the market for Japan's cultural exports could worth 20 to 30 trillion yen (US$200-300 billion) if business opportunities are exploited. Japan's cultural exports is one of the three pillars upon which Asō is relying for economic growth; the other two are a 'low-carbon revolution" and a "society of health and longevity."
Asō has faced low approval poll numbers almost since his ascension to Japan's highest post last September. He told the audience at October's 21st Tokyo International Film Festival, only half-jokingly, that he is apparently more well known in Japan for being a manga geek than prime minister. As he did when he was foreign minister, Asō has used anime as an example of cultural exchange in South Korea and Russia. However, Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki has criticized Asō's public emphasis on his manga reading and downplayed the use of Japanese entertainment to promote the country and to raise its youth.
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