Sankei Shimbun newspaper reports that the Japanese Government will to fund a new “Japan channel” for overseas audience this year, which will air Japanese anime, drama, music, and travel programming.
According to the report, the channel will be a “soft-power” campaign to counter its negative publicity from its neighbours, particularly territorial disputes with China over Senkaku Islands (also known as Diaoyu Islands) and South Korea over the Liancourt Rocks (also known as Takeshima by the Japanese & Dokdo by the Koreans) on the Sea of Japan.
The Japanese government is allocating JP¥15.5 billion (over PhP6.5 billion) for the channel’s overseas expansion, costs of subtitling & dubbing programmes, as well as the government support to co-produce with a television station, and publicity.
The new channel is set to be available in Thailand in January, Indonesia in February, and Cambodia in April. The government also considers launching the channel in the United States, Europe, and Africa.
The Japanese government has launched an initiative in 2002 with a goal of becoming “a nation built on intellectual property” through its intellectual property policy outline, which includes distributing Japanese culture overseas, but the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry notes that the support was “sporadic” because “there was no political leadership.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched the “Cool Japan” initiative, supported by the Japanese government together with companies that promote modern Japanese culture abroad, like anime & manga, aims to create the “Japan Boom.”
Examples pointed out were the distribution of programming from the United States, which lead to significant increase of products imports from the U.S., as well as the highly popular “Korean Wave” (also known as “Hallyu Wave”) by South Korea which was launched 15 years ago and lead to distribution of television programs with 3.03% export rate, which is more than Japan’s rate of only 0.15%.
There are similar channels in Asia focused on Japan and its culture, namely NHK World TV and NHK World Premium, both owned and operated by the public broadcaster NHK; as well as Hello! Japan, which was launched in July 2012 as is currently available in Singapore; and anime channels ANIMAX Asia, AniPlus Asia & HEROtv in the Philippines.