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Hi Blog. Debito.org Reader JK sends articles that indicate that the Japanese Government wants tourists to come in and spend more money (without doing the legal groundwork necessary to stop them being discriminated against), and is willing to bribe the NJ already here with preferential visas if they get certified in “Cool Japan”, i.e., become shills. Kinda smart in terms of incentive systems, but very cynical — and those critical of Japan, of course, need not apply. The pressure to unquestionably “like” Japan is already omnipresent, and now reinforced as public policy. Dr. Debito Arudou
From the article: “What’s needed are initiatives that introduce [tourists to] things that are great about Japan, like hot springs, Japanese cuisine, and local history and culture.”
Well, that and no ‘Japanese only’ signs at hot springs, restaurants, etc…
Sharp decline in tourists’ spending
The Yomiuri Shimbun Courtesy of JK
7:49 pm, January 18, 2017
By Toru Ando and Yuto Yoshida / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers
While a record 24 million-plus foreign tourists came to Japan last year, spending per person dropped sharply in 2016, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.
Fewer foreign visitors are engaging in extravagant shopping sprees, so figuring out how to use Japan’s charms to increase tourism outside major metropolitan areas and encourage longer stays is becoming an issue. A total of 24,039,000 foreign tourists visited Japan in 2016.
The agency on Tuesday released the results of a survey on foreign tourists’ consumption in 2016. The increase in the number of tourists pushed overall spending to a record ¥3.75 trillion, but per-person spending was down 11.5 percent from the previous year to ¥155,896, the largest drop ever recorded.
Behind the decline was the yen’s appreciation from the previous year, as well as a change in the purpose of travel from “consumption” through shopping and other means, to trips aimed at “experiencing things” such as nature and culture.
The government hopes to raise per-person spending to ¥200,000 by 2020. But Takeshi Okano, a senior researcher at Daiwa Institute of Research Holdings Ltd., was skeptical.
“There’s a limit to widening the scope of tourism if only consumption is focused on. What’s needed are initiatives that introduce [tourists to] things that are great about Japan, like hot springs, Japanese cuisine, and local history and culture. These efforts should be aimed at getting people to make repeat visits,” he said.
However, tourists tend to concentrate in major cities.
On Monday, a 19-year-old university student from Shanghai was in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. “I bought some figurines from anime I like,” he said, looking satisfied with his first trip to Japan.
Robert Macolino, a 56-year-old Australian, was shopping in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Macolino said he had also visited Kyoto and Nara, and appreciated the different charms of each city.
The main tourist destinations are concentrated in the so-called golden route that connects Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and other major cities. First-time visitors to Japan are even more likely to stick to these areas. Figuring out how to buck this trend and get tourists to visit other regions is a major challenge.
Starting this fiscal year, the Japan Tourism Agency is helping local regions that share tourism resources — such as modern architecture, sake brewing, or shrines and temples — create themed tours. For instance, Shizuoka, Aichi, Saitama, Tochigi and Miyagi prefectures are receiving state funds to plan and promote tours of their shrines and temples with strong connections to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun in the Edo period.
“Areas outside the major cities have many great tourism resources. Visitors to these areas will increase if we make them better known and get the information out there,” an official at the agency said.
Hi Debito. Here’s another. My gut reaction is that the GOJ is trying to exploit NJ possessing a certain degree of acculturation for their labor, what do you think? Regards -JK
‘Cool Japan’ smarts may give foreigners a residence edge
8:44 pm, January 18, 2017
The Yomiuri Shimbun
The government is considering establishing a certification test for assessing the competency and know-how of foreigners engaged in activities related to the “Cool Japan” initiative, such as anime and fashion. The aim is to accept more of these foreigners into National Strategic Special Zones, according to sources.
The government intends to relax the requirements for obtaining resident status for candidates who meet certain competency criteria and conditions. The plan is aimed at foreign students graduating from Japanese vocational schools, the sources said.
By creating a friendly working environment for foreigners with strong interests in Japanese culture, the government aims to increase the number of foreigners with an intimate familiarity with Japan. They could then serve as informal bridges for future exchanges between Japan and their home countries.
A working group of the government’s National Strategic Special Zones initiative is currently discussing the matter. It plans to grant resident status to foreigners after confirming their competency via certification tests and other methods. The government aims make relevant revisions to the National Strategic Special Zones Law in fiscal 2017.
Under the current residency status system, which is based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law, foreigners who have graduated from Japanese vocational schools are not eligible for resident status due to a lack of work experience. Consequently, they cannot work in Japan despite a desire to do so. This has been recognized as a problem.
Japanese language proficiency would also be assessed in the envisaged certification test, in addition to relevant professional skills.
“More foreigners will obtain resident status,” a government source said.
The working group is considering allowing foreigners to obtain certification to stay in Japan for several years, the sources said.
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