The socioeconomic environment surrounding Japan is a formidable one, shaped by such factors as a significant population decline, aging society and long-term national debt equivalent to 170% of the GDP.
It is therefore important that we make effective use of our assets, such as human, technology and tourism resources, to ensure a sustainable future. Given that, building a tourism nation, with its capacity to revitalize regional economies, create job opportunities and increase bilateral international understanding, is a key component of Japan in the 21st century, and will only grow in importance as a national strategy.
The Hatoyama government, which came into power in September 2009, has positioned tourism as a major economic growth area. Under the leadership of Minister Seiji Maehara, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism launched the MLIT Growth Strategy Council in October 2009 to examine concrete measures for the tourism growth strategy. In addition, in December 2009, the Office of Tourism Nation Promotion was launched with Minister Maehara as its head, establishing a unified government structure for pursuing tourism nation-building.
With this series of developments in mind, we will focus on East Asian markets including China. The emphasis will be on actions to promote inbound travel to Japan, with full PDCA cycle to verify the effectiveness of such actions, and on providing support to region-driven efforts to develop tourism destinations. We will continue to roll out tourism measures that produce results, in keeping with the mission of enacting the growth strategy.