Japan is looking at its pop culture as an untapped source for exports. Here’s The Independent summarizing the issue from several Japanese newspapers:
Japan’s manga-loving prime minister, Taro Aso, has long touted the importance of “soft power” content such as comics and anime to boost Japan’s global diplomatic status. [ . . . ] Included in a giant stimulus package he unveiled today was a target of raising exports from the “content” sector to about 18 per cent of exports from less than 2 per cent now.
“By linking the popularity of Japan’s ‘soft power’ to business, I want to create a 20-30 trillion yen ($200-300 billion) market by 2020 and create 500,000 new jobs.” At least one government agency is already eyeing a cultural project using funds from the stimulus package [ . . . ] The Cultural Affairs Agency wants nearly 12 billion yen to build a “National Comprehensive Centre for Media Art” that would showcase contemporary Japanese culture such as manga, anime and video games, the Asahi newspaper reported. “We are thinking of making a request for the funds for such a facility, but the amount is still being worked out,” an agency official said.
Japan Eye Comics and Pop Art to Ride Economic Storm (The Independent)