Monday, November 13, 2006

Sins of Omission

An advisory council to the Ambassador from Mangaland Minister of Foreign Affairs has come to what some might call a foregone conclusion:

Pop culture key to foreign relations, new report says
The Yomiuri Shimbun

An advisory panel to Foreign Minister Taro Aso that was established to improve cooperation and understanding between Japan and other countries has drawn up a report proposing the use of Japanese pop culture, including comics and anime, as a diplomatic tool, sources said Saturday.

According to the report by the Council on the Movement of People Across Borders, Japanese pop culture has become enormously popular with young people overseas.
The report goes on to say that to help related industries expand their business opportunities abroad, it is important that cultural events in other countries are properly promoted, and that the government urge foreign leaders to take adequate measures against pirated products.

The council also proposed the establishment of a so-called ambassador of anime culture--a person who would introduce contemporary Japanese artwork to other countries--as well as a Japan comic award targeting overseas cartoonists. It also called for the creation of a pop culture study group consisting of ministries, agencies and industries related to the field.
Oh, surely it is not worth the Yomiuri's while to mention somewhere in the article that our current Minister of Foreign Affairs--the Minister of Foreign Affairs--finds the time to sit down and read through 7-8 manga books every bloody week --for, as we know, the personal proclivities of ministers in the Abe Cabinet have nothing to do with the findings published by their advisory committees*.

Ambassador of anime culture? Will she be allowed to wear her colorful native garb?

* In a recent post, I opined about Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Suga Yoshihide's ordering NHK to publicize stories regarding the DPRK abductees in shortwave radio broadcasts. It turns out the plan to use NHK in this way dates from March of this year, when the then Senior Vice Minister of Internal Affairs and Comminications Suga asked around whether any loopholes existed in the Broadcasting Law that could be exploited to facilitate such an order. The idea indeed became known in in the Ministry as "The Senior Vice Minister's Proposition."

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