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  • Thursday, 19th March 2015
    In Business In Japan,

    Michelle Obama discuss girls' educational reforms in Tokyo

    US First Lady Michelle Obama has arrived in Tokyo, visiting Japan for the first time, as part of a two-nation tour in Asia to promote girls' education on a global scale.

    Today (March 19th), Mrs Obama met with her Japanese counterpart Akie Abe to announce further plans on how the two countries could work together to help girls finish their education in still developing nations. Japan will be working with the Let Girls Learn initiative, which was recently launched by the Obamas, and the country will be offering 42 billion yen over three years for the cause.

    Japan and the US also agree that more assistance on supporting female education would have to be developed, so the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers will be working with the Peace Corps, the latter of which will be implementing the Let Girls Learn scheme. In all, the initiative will be helping girls attain goals that are often taken for granted in wealthy countries.

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  • Wednesday, 18th March 2015
    In Business In Japan, Japan Travel News,

    Small Japanese town relying on manga to boost tourism

    The small Japanese town of Tottori has announced that manga comics are being used to lure more tourists from overseas.

    Popular serial comic and animation Detective Conan tells the tale of teenage detective who shrank into a young boy after being forced to drink a potion, and now he will be entrusted to raise awareness of Tottori airport. The airport was renamed to Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport to capitalise on the comic's success, while the gateway, lobby and baggage claim area have been filled with various posters and illustrations.

    The other airport in Tottori, Yonago Kitaro, is named after 'Gegege no Kitaro', another popular manga about monsters. Tottori is the least populated prefecture in the country, with 578,000 people living across 3,500 sq km, but Yonago Kitaro actually welcomes two million passengers annually.

    Ambassador for the prefecture Mr Hirai said: "Tottori is known for its manga, a symbol of Cool Japan. There are more than ten million visitors coming to Tottori annually, and I want to particularly increase our foreign visitors."

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  • Tuesday, 17th March 2015
    In Business In Japan, Japan Travel News, Events In Japan,

    Disney announces further plans for Tokyo Disney in 2015

    The Walt Disney Company has announced that it will be hosting a special D23 Expo Japan from November 6th to 8th 2015 in Tokyo Disney Resort in Maihama. These are all smell steps to expanding all that Disney has to offer to the local economy in Tokyo.

    Expanding the fanbase

    As a fun event for Disney fans to get together and celebrate everything that the brand has to offer, D23 is actually held every two years in the US, but Expo Japan was launched in 2013 to cater to the niche Japanese market. As part of proceedings, visitors will be able to enjoy performances, peruse through exclusive merchandise, and attend workshops, seminars and presentations by Disney executives on what is coming soon from the company, whether it be related to theme parks, movies, music or television.

    This year's Expo is themed around 'the power of story', undoubtedly looking at how enriched universes have been created across the Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars franchises. One only has to look at The Avengers initiative or the series of Star Wars spin-off movies announced to see how interlocking stories help to further enhance the brand.

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  • Tuesday, 17th March 2015
    In Business In Japan, Japan Travel News, Events In Japan, Business In Japan, Japan Travel News,

    Japanese banks to boost ATM availability for tourists

    Some of the biggest banks across Japan are looking to boost connectivity between ATMs to global networks in order to allow foreign tourists to access their cash much more easily in the run up to the 2020 Olympics.

    Following years of pressure from the government, the nation's three biggest lenders, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho, will be opening up their ATMs to the global market. In past years, there has been too much of a focus on the local market, forcing Japanese technology to evolve in isolation from the rest of the world.

    Sumitomo Mitsui plans to connect 1,000 of its roughly 6,000 ATMs by March 2017, while Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ will begin linking 1,000 of its 8,300 or so ATMs this year. Mizuho will install around 100 new ATMs that accept foreign cards in the next few months, adding to its already 5,600 ATMs nationwide. All the banks will have to pay to connect to Visa and MasterCard networks, upgrade their software and modify current ATMs; a cost that could set them back billions of yen. This investment will then be paid back through transaction fees on the customer side.

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