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Cool Japan Fund Makes Additional $3.6 Million Available to Sentai Holdings

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Additional funds to help make changes to due COVID-19, strengthen online business

Cool Japan Fund, the public-private company that the Japanese government employs to fund projects as part of its "Cool Japan" program, announced on September 30 that it and Sentai Filmworks CEO John Ledford are making additional funds available to Sentai Holdings, LLC — the parent company of Sentai Filmworks, HIDIVE, and Anime Network. The Japanese version of the announcement stated that Cool Japan Fund is making 3.6 million dollars (400 million yen) available to Sentai Holdings, LLC, and Ledford himself is also making additional funds available.

The fund invested US$30 million in Sentai Holdings, LLC in August 2019.

The announcement on September 30 stated that Sentai Holdings, LLC "recorded better financial results in 2019 than in the previous year," and is planning to implement measures with a goal of medium- and long-term growth. The statement also added that the company is making "strategic and operational changes" to adapt to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and "uncertainties of the global marketplace for entertainment content." Sentai Holdings, LLC also plans to use the funds to "remain competitive despite macro economic challenges" and strengthen its online business.

Cool Japan fund appointed Naoki Kitagawa as the company's new CEO in June 2018.

Nikkei reported in November 2017 that Cool Japan Fund Inc. was underperforming in many of its investments, in particular projects that were spurred by business ties from company's leadership, including previous CEO Nobuyuki Ota and Chairman Kazunobu Iijima.

"Cool Japan" is a program supported by the Japanese government and various companies that promotes modern Japanese culture such as anime and manga abroad. The program revolves around the premise that Japan's strength in business and international affairs lies in anime, manga, films, fashion, and other fields of Japanese arts and entertainment content.

Sources: Cool Japan Fund (link 2), Animation Business Journal (Tadashi Sudo)

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