Japan enlists foreign bloggers to revive tourism in quake-hit areasI know what you are thinking: please tell me this is all just a weird dream.
TOKYO -- Japan's Foreign Ministry is inviting prominent overseas bloggers and twitterers to visit areas devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The ministry has launched the initiative to revive the tourist industry in quake-hit northeastern Japan. It wants foreign guests to write about the progress made in rebuilding disaster-ravaged communities and let the world know that the area still remains an appealing holiday destination.
At the ministry's invitation, Spanish blogger Roger Ortuno Flamerich came to Japan in December, followed by Louisa Liu Chu, 45, a food blogger from Chicago and Khaled Hamza, 48, editor-in-chief of the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt, who arrived here on Jan. 31.
Hamza's group is a well-known Islamist movement that played a pivotal role in bringing down the autocratic government of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Hamza made a daytrip to Ishinomaki, Miyagi, the prefecture closest to the epicenter of the March 2011 temblor, to inspect reconstruction sites. Chu spent three days visiting fish markets and sake brewers in Kesennuma and Sendai, two other Miyagi cities.
Deciding to mobilize the immense communicative power of blogs and Twitter, the Foreign Ministry earmarked some 21.5 million yen for the project for the current fiscal year through March.
This month, two influential twitterers -- a Chilean university professor and a Chinese children's storywriter -- will come to visit... (Link)
Will someone please explain to me, in simple terms, so that I might understand, exactly how this program is going to seriously alter conditions set by the rock hard yen, the international fears of radiation and the country's poor tourism planning and development?
My thanks to The Tokyo Times for unearthing this gem of bureaucratic out-of-box-out-of-mind thinking.