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Speech made by Ambassador Orita on the occasion of a reception to launch the Visit Japan Campaign Promotion Committee

5 May 04

Ambassador Orita delivers a speech
Ambassador Orita delivers a speech

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome you all! Thank you very much for coming. I am very pleased to see so many people here this evening to celebrate the launching of ��׷isit Japan Campaign�ߡ� ��׺okoso Japan Campaign�ߡ� Since the beginning of this year, I have often talked about the start of ��׷isit Japan Campaign�ߡ�on many separate occasions, but today marks the real beginning of the ��׷isit Japan Campaign�ߡ�in the United Kingdom. Just two hours ago, the United Kingdom ��׷isit Japan Campaign Promotion Committee�ߡ�was established and the committee have just finished its first meeting. I am very pleased that many eminent people, including senior figures from the tourism industries, airlines and travel agencies of both countries are represented in the committee. Very good discussions took place. And I am grateful for their very frank but kind and useful advice.

The Visit Japan Campaign is a campaign involving both the government and the private sector of Japan. It is all Japan Campaign. Its aim is to attract much more foreign visitors to Japan and to let foreign visitors know about Japan and familiarize with many different aspects of charms of Japan. We have set the official target of doubling the numbers of foreign visitors to Japan by 2010. This is a new charm offensive of Japan. Actually, we have another charm offensive, �ߡ�Invest Japan Campaign �ߡ�whose aim is to double the amount of foreign inward investment in Japan. Both charm offensives have started under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Koi zumi. Mr. Koizumi himself will say hello to you in a video which will be shown later. I know, as you know that a charm offensive can succeed only if there is really a charm. I want say that Japan has a lot of charms. Please visit Japan and invest in Japan!

If you look at statistics, whereas annually about 400 thousand Japanese visit the UK, and about 200 thousand British people visit Japan, which is a half of Japanese visitors to the UK. On the other hand, British people are people who travel overseas most frequently.

Approximately 60 million British people travel overseas a year . The number is bigger than the population. Which means, on average, British people, including babies, travel more than once a year. But only 3 in 1000 British people who travel reach Japan. It means there is a huge opportunity for us to cultivate to increase the number of British tourists to Japan by the charm offensive of Japan.

There are many different kinds of charms of Japan. Scenery of mountains, rivers and coastlines are beautiful. If you travel on trains, scenery changes completely every three minutes. We have very distinctive four seasons, offering different natural beauties. The modern world and the world of tradition and history coexist. There are many temples, shrines and castles. You can enjoy any kind of sports from skiing to scuba diving, football, baseball, rugby, golf, Judo and sumo. Only exception is perhaps cricket. You can enjoy from Kabuki, Noh theatre to the modern theatre, karaoke, new most sophisticated and stimulating entertainments. Transportation system is not bad at all, it is rather good.

Trains depart and arrive exactly on time. People drive on the left side of road which is absolutely right side and without worrying about congestion charges.

Other attractions of Japan are, for example, various local festivals which reflect the distinct traditions of the areas and rural hot springs, where one can relax, unwind and forget about one ' s everyday cares and in some cases, monkeys may try to join you . And a lot of other charms are waiting to be discovered.

We want very much to promote the charms of Japan and attract British people. But to do that properly and effectively, we need your kind cooperation and advice. It is my sincere hope that everyone here will support the Visit Japan Campaign, promote the charms of Japan and help increase the number of British visitors to Japan . If 10 instead of 3 people out of 1000 who travel overseas from UK choose to go Japan. the number will be three times bigger.

May I add that a series of encouraging good news are coming from Japan about the steady recovery of Japanese economy, people in Japan are becoming much more optimistic. Now is the time for look more positively to the Japanese economy and it may be high time for you to think about the possibility of investing in Japan in addition to visiting Japan.

Anyhow, do please visit Japan!

Everybody is hugely welcomed by people there, by saying �ߡ�welcome to Japan �ߡ� nihon he yokoso!

This yokoso is the key word of ��׷isit Japan Campaign�ߡ�.

Thank you very much!



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