Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. My name is Seiji KOJIMA, Minister of the Japanese Embassy.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the Nippon Airship Corporation on the successful flight of its airship ��OKOSO JAPAN�ߡ�to London.
The visit of airship ��OKOSO JAPAN�ߡ�seems to symbolize a new era of tourism between Japan and the UK. Its arrival strongly encourages us to further strengthen our determination and effort to promote the Visit Japan Campaign in this country of great travelers.
Perhaps, it would be timely and appropriate for me to introduce briefly the Visit Japan Campaign and the 2005 Aichi Expo, with which some of you may already be familiar.
The Visit Japan Campaign is a joint initiative involving both the government and the private sector, designed to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan, thereby deepening understanding on Japan by people all over the world. The government of Japan has set an official target of doubling the number of foreign visitors to Japan by 2010. In order to realize this goal, the Visit Japan Campaign Headquarters, established to promote the Campaign, has decided to choose the UK, France and Germany as their targeted markets in Europe this year.
In response to this decision, the Embassy launched, on the 5 th of May, the ��K VISIT JAPAN CAMPAIGN PROMOTION COMMITTEE�ߡ�chaired by Ambassador ORITA. Senior figures in the tourism and travel industries, as well as government representatives from both the UK and Japan, and key officials from other related organizations are already serving on this Committee. The first meeting, which I myself attended, was extremely productive and committee members provided invaluable comments and suggestions, which will be, I'm sure, reflected in this year's strategic planning for the UK market.
At the actual implementation level, the Embassy has taken various initiatives including the setting up of a Travel Corner displaying various kinds of guidebooks, brochures, map, etc. and the issuing of the Embassy Newsletter, which features a series entitled ��OKOSO JAPAN�ߡ� Several pages of our website are also dedicated to promoting tourism to Japan.
In relation to the Campaign, I would also like to mention a forthcoming event, on the 6th of July, which has been named ��elcome Japan�ߡ�/a>. This is being organized by the Japanese Ministries, Campaign Headquarters, JETRO, JNTO and UK Trade and Investment, with support from the Embassy as one of the co-organizers.
The event will consist of a morning session and an afternoon session, entitled respectively ��ISIT JAPAN�ߡ�and ��תNVEST JAPAN�ߡ� The aim of both sessions is to promote Japan's attractions as an ideal destination for both inbound tourism and inward investment from the UK.
The details of this event are outlined in the pamphlet, which has been handed out today. I would be delighted if, as well as participating in this event here today, you could also find time to attend �ߡ�a href="../../event/040618_symposium.html">Welcome Japan�ߡ�on the 6th of July.
Another thing that I would like to draw your attention to is an event which will take place in Aichi prefecture: the 2005 Aichi Expo. The theme of the Expo is �ߡ�he Earth's Wisdom'. This is not a world exposition of the old type, motivated by a sense of competition for national prestige. It is a forum for pooling the wisdom of the widest possible range of people from around the world to address tasks common to all of us: how human beings can coexist with the earth and how we can reduce our dependency upon finite energy resources. In this regard, I believe Aichi would be fit for the forum, considering its wealth of nature, the accumulation of industries and technology.
With a strong initiative of Prime Minister Blair, the UK government last year decided to participate in the Aichi Expo. Surely, the UK, which is one of the leading countries of advanced technology, will make a big contribution to the success of the Aichi Expo. And I should like to encourage many of you to visit Japan on this special occasion and witness Japan-UK collaboration in action. This, of course, would also be a great opportunity for you to see with your own eyes what Japan has to offer as an investment destination.
Let me also mention that the planned opening of the new Chubu International Airport will make it even easier for you to go to the site of the Expo. Please do not hesitate to utilise this new airport, either as an investor or as a tourist. Please make best use of business opportunities in Aichi prefecture and in wider Japan, and enjoy Japan filled with history, culture, tradition and ultra-modern entertainment!
I would like to conclude by wishing the safe onward voyage of the airship ��OKOSO JAPAN�ߡ�