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METI Kanto’s Creative Industry Support Exhibiting at Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012 | Masaru Sato, Assistant Director Contents Industry Support Office Information Policy Division Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry METI [Date of Issue: 29/February/2012 No.0204-0831]

Date of Issue: 29/February/2012

METI Kanto's Creative Industry Support
Exhibiting at Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012

Masaru Sato
Assistant Director
Contents Industry Support Office
Information Policy Division
Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry
METI


METI Kanto has in place a number of support measures for creative industries in the greater Kanto region. Here we focus on the Japan Pavilion operated at the Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012, one of Asia’s biggest business fairs.


Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry

The Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI Kanto) is a regional branch organization of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). It has jurisdiction over the greater Kanto region*, often described as the heart of the Japanese economy, and operates a broad range of economic and industrial support measures for local companies, consumers, universities, local authorities, institutions and other local parties, including new business and start-up promotion, technology development support, SME support, environmental and recycling measures, energy measures, measures combating global warming, and consumer protection. Rather than simply just implementing measures, METI Kanto gears its activities specifically to meet local needs, including identifying local needs and wishes and developing user-friendly ‘menus’ of measures, and working with local financial institutions engaged in projects closely tied to local companies.

*Greater Kanto region: The Tokyo metropolis and the 10 prefectures of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka

Creative KANTO: METI Kanto’s Greater Kanto region Creative Industry Network Initiative

One of METI Kanto’s various measures to stimulate the local economy and industry is a project called Creative KANTO, which is operated by the Contents Industry Support Office within the Information Policy Division. This project focuses on local creative industry* promotion with a wider ripple effect within and beyond Japan. It entails supporting individual creators and SMEs involved in digital contents and other creative industries in Tokyo and the greater Kanto region and developing mechanisms to turn their creative efforts into business.

In providing support for creative industries in the greater Kanto region, the Creative KANTO initiative responds to four points: (1) the region is a focus for creative industry information and personnel from all over the world, and also serves as a gateway to overseas markets; (2) the contents industry and other creative industries are clustered here; (3) most entrepreneurs involved in creative industries are individual creators or SME operators involved in areas such as contents creation, who, despite having the potential to produce a rich body of creative and original work, tend to be working as subcontractors for large firms and are consequently unable to fulfil their potential; and (4) while Japan’s creative industries are regarded highly overseas for the ‘cool Japan’ factor, only around five percent of domestic contents production is exported, revealing a failure to link the appeal of cool Japan to international industrial competitiveness. Creative KANTO consequently seeks to exploit Tokyo’s strengths in terms of expanding business overseas, as well as creative industry efforts at the regional level, in deploying a creative industry support and growth program geared to specific challenges.

* Creative industries: Industries involved in the creation of unique Japanese brand value, including animation, games, movies and other contents, as well as fashion and design.

In 2011, Creative KANTO efforts included: (1) holding Creative Market Tokyo 2011 (a CoFesta official event) as a B2B market aimed at sales channel development and capital procurement for contents produced by SMEs and individual creators; (2) undertaking the Creative Connection Tokyo project to build business networks for creative industries that connect them to universities, government and financial institutions through human resource development seminars, business matching meetings, workshops and study groups; (3) holding seminars in conjunction with local authorities and other parties working to support creative industries with the aim of boosting the intellectual property-related skills of those involved in creative industries and supporting their intellectual property acquisition; (4) serving as a hub for partnership and information-sharing among local authorities and related institutions around Japan that are engaged in promoting creative industries; and (5) arranging overseas exhibitions particularly of outstanding works from Creative Tokyo 2011 and organizing business matching talks with overseas firms to support overseas business expansion by the creative industries.

Overseas efforts: Japan Pavilion at Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012

As part of the overseas component of the Creative KANTO initiative, METI Kanto hosted the Japan Pavilion at the Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012 (HKILS 2012). One of Asia’s biggest character licensing-related business fairs, HKILS 2012 was sponsored by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA). The Japan Pavilion was realized with the support of the Institute for International Studies and Training’s FY2011 international economic exchange program.

The first joint government-private sector project of this nature, the Japan Pavilion was organized and operated by an executive committee comprising representatives from the IIST, the Japan Licensing Committee and METI Kanto. Nihon Keizai Advertising Co., Ltd., an HKILS 2012 official agent, served as the secretariat, while the Hong Kong Trade Development Council participated as a cooperating member. The committee utilized private-sector knowhow in considering how to select products for exhibition in the Japan Pavilion and how to approach PR.

The Japan Pavilion comprised two METI Kanto booths and eight booths from seven private companies. The products exhibited in the METI Kanto booths were selected by the executive committee from among those products shown at the above-mentioned Creative Market Tokyo 2011 that were recipients of the Japan New Contents Global Award 2011, which recognized products’ strong suitability for international markets*. To create business for the products shown at the METI Kanto booths, the committee selected experts familiar with the local business situation to arrange business talks in Hong Kong.

* The HKILS 2012 Japan Pavilion booth displaying CMT 2011 Japan New Contents Global Award-winning products was called ‘Japan New Contents Global Award 2011 -Creative Market Tokyo 2011 Award SELECTION towards ASIA’.

The HKILS 2012 Japan Pavilion produced a rich harvest. Thanks to the experts that the executive committee brought in, many business talks were held with buyers from Asia and around the world concerning products in the METI Kanto booths, with numerous good contract prospects emerging. Many of the companies which exhibited in the Japan Pavilion have also come back with very positive feedback, including the many business talks they were able to engage in. These highly satisfactory outcomes were the result, firstly, of presenting Cool Japan contents as a coherent body in the Japan Pavilion, lending Japan’s outstanding contents a real sense of identity, and secondly, of a joint government-private sector approach which exploited the strong points of both sides. To ensure that results like these continue to be achieved, we need to sustain and develop this coherent “Japan” approach, including holding further Japan Pavilions.

Japan Pavilion (Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012)

Japan Pavilion (Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012)

Products displayed in the METI Kanto booths in the HKILS 2012 Japan Pavilion

Products displayed in the METI Kanto booths in the HKILS 2012 Japan Pavilion

Importance of overseas expansion in METI Kanto's regional stimulation program

METI Kanto regards supporting the overseas expansion of local SMEs as a key element in its regional stimulation program. In October 2010, we established the Greater Kanto region SME Overseas Expansion Support Headquarters to actively support SMEs in developing sales channels in overseas markets. The HKILS 2012 Japan Pavilion project also aimed to support the overseas expansion of the creative industry, and this initiative is expected to spread Cool Japan content produced by SMEs and individual creators from the greater Kanto region to markets in Hong Kong and Asia, boost the value of Japanese contents overseas, and also promote inbound tourism to Japan from overseas in search of the real ‘Cool Japan’.

The continuance of overseas initiatives such as these will rely on cooperation and support from a network of related companies and institutions in Japan and abroad, among them the IIST, which was kind enough to participate in the HKILS 2012 Japan Pavilion project, and it will be vital to sustain coherent government-private sector action in the years ahead.

(original article : Japanese)


Related links
- Hong Kong International Licensing Show 2012

- Creative Market Tokyo 2011

- Hong Kong Trade Development Council

- METI Kanto


(For the Japanese version of this article)


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