<特集・クールジャパン> Taniguchi questions Cool Japan Initiative as industrial policy ◎産業政策としてのクールジャパン戦略に疑問 ―谷口洋志経済学部長に聞く―  

The “Cool Japan Initiative” being promoted as a national policy by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) consists of three steps: (1) generating a Japan boom abroad, (2) stepping up business development overseas and (3) linking it to increased spending in Japan by foreign tourists. Hakumon Herald interviewed Prof. Yoji Taniguchi, dean of the Faculty of Economics, to ask him what he feels and what problems he sees about the policy. Prof. Taniguchi joined Chuo in 1997 and assumed the concurrent post of a member of the Board of Regents and dean of the Faculty of Economics in 2013. He specializes in economic policies and public economies.




-What do you think of the Cool Japan Initiative?

Taniguchi: The initiative is being pushed as part of the Abe administration's growth strategy. The contents of this growth strategy are mostly what has been carried out down the ages. And yet people pin their hopes on that strategy. The government felt it has to do something new and came up with the Cool Japan Initiative. However, there is a wide gap between my ideas and those of the government with regard to this initiative. Personally I take a critical view of the initiative.



谷口 クールジャパンは安倍政権の成長戦略の一環として推進されています。この成長戦略の中身というのは、ほとんど昔からなされてきたことばかりですよね。それでも国民は成長戦略に期待します。何か新しいことをしなければいけない、そう考えた末に表に出てきたのがクールジャパン戦略なのではないでしょうか。しかし、現在の政府と私の考え方の間には大きな隔たりがあり、個人的にはクールジャパン政策について批判的に見ています。


  -You have just said you are critical. Can you elaborate?

  Taniguchi: Well, I have many points to make. The first is the ambiguity of the word ‘Cool Japan’. To pursue a policy, you must properly define the word so that everyone can understand it correctly. If people have different understandings, they may lose sight of the objective. After the policy has been implemented, you cannot assess its outcome. My second point is that the Cool Japan Initiative is being led by METI. I see it queer for METI to promote such initiative as an industrial policy.



 谷口 いくつもありますが、1つ目は、クールジャパンという言葉の曖昧さです。政策を進めるには言葉をきちんと定義し、誰もが理解できるようにしなくてはいけません。お互い理解していることが違えば、何のためにやるのかも変わるし、それからやってみてよかったのかを評価する際にも、評価のしようがないですよね。2つ目は、クールジャパン戦略が経済産業省によって主導されているという点です。私は産業政策としてクールジャパンを推進するのはおかしいのではないかと思っています。


  Probably because METI is naïve about where Japanese culture stands in the world, it considers it only in the context of an industrial policy. I can give you an example. I watched a TV channel featuring Asian programs from time to time while I was staying in the United States. To my surprise, Chinese programs and Korean dramas were broadcast during the prime hours while Japanese ones were put on the air only early in the morning or late at night. Japanese people often say that Japanese culture is cool. But I am afraid they don’t know what foreign people really think of Japanese culture.



And then, I also see it as a problem for the Cool Japan Initiative to be carried out as an industrial policy. As you may know, Joseph Samuel Nye, Jr., an American scholar of international politics, advocated what he called “Soft Power” (a persuasive approach to international relations, typically involving the use of cultural influence.) That is a diplomatic point of view. While “Soft Power” has drawn so much attention, the Japanese government has been stopping short of pursuing Cool Japan as a diplomatic policy. I think the government should take the American TV’s low rating of Japanese culture more seriously and work harder to enhance Japan’s presence abroad.




My third point is the defectiveness inherent in the initiative as an industrial policy. Does the policy help improve the treatment of persons engaged in the production of animation films and comics? It certainly doesn’t, does it? I think it is slack as an economic policy. Lastly and fourthly, the term Cool Japan is taken to mean something eye-grabbing and is used to prompt us to give foreign visitors “omotenashi” (hospitality). I also question the idea of omotenashi itself. I feel omotenashi has become obtrusion from the supply side. For example, I heard that when a foreign visitor tried to check in at a hotel in Japan, he was told, “You can check in an hour later.” I have never experienced this kind of service abroad. In most cases, receptionists will tell you, “You are most welcome.” I wonder if omotenashi doesn’t begin before your check-in. Put plainly, omotenashi means nothing if it lacks the point of view on the demand side. Just offering something expensive and good is not omotenashgi. Cutting prices for those who seek something inexpensive is one of actions to be taken by service providers from the viewpoint of customers, isn’t it?




  -So how do you think Cool Japan should be pushed as a policy?

  Taniguchi: This initiative merely subsidizes companies and just wishes them “Good luck!” And the government appeals to the nation, “Our strategy can this much improve the economy.” It won’t evaluate the outcome after it has carried out the policy. I don’t think that will work. An important thing about the initiative will be the perspective of getting the merit of Japanese culture better understood. The government should lead a higher-level debate, for instance, on a 21st century strategy rather than seeing things in terms of how much profit we can make in five or 10 years.



谷口 このクールジャパン戦略は、ただ補助金を渡して「頑張ってね」としているだけです。そして国民向けには「クールジャパン戦略でこれだけ経済をよくします」とアピールし、政策が行われた後の評価はしない。これではだめだと思います。クールジャパン戦略で大事なことは、もっと日本の文化の良さを知ってもらうという視点でしょう。5年、10年でいくらの利益を、ではなく、より高いレベルで、言うなれば21世紀戦略とでも言うくらいの規模の議論がなされるべきではないでしょうか。


  -Many Japanese people seem to accept Cool Japan and omotenashi just passively. What do you think of the initiative from a national point of view?

  Taniguchi: After all, it boils down to how we are going to grow Japanese culture. The government’s strategy is a one-time gimmick aimed at creating a Japan boom. Rather we need to have more leeway to foster our culture. I think it is important for us to make donations or buy some goods rather than just paying taxes. Above anything else, it is a problem that the government and the nation don’t share the sense of crisis over why we must push the Cool Japan policy now. I want you students to think about the sense of crisis pertaining to this policy. There are many cases where something we Japanese don’t know or acknowledge is valued by foreign people. So, it is important for us to know the good points Japan has and try to have them understood by foreign people.


(Interviewed by: Ryo Tanaka, Chihiro Ishikawa, Toshihiro Horibe)



 谷口 やはり、どういうふうに日本の文化を育てるか、と言うことだと思います。今の戦略は日本ブームをつくる、という一過性のものですから、もう少し私たちがゆとりを持って、文化を育てるということが必要です。税金という形ではなく、寄付をしたり商品を買ったりなどというのも重要ではないでしょうか。そして、なんでクールジャパン政策をしなきゃいけないのか、という危機感が政府にも国民の間にも共有されていないことも問題です。ぜひクールジャパンにおける危機感、というものを考えてもらいたいと思います。また、我々が知らないことや気づかないことが評価される場合も多くあります。なので、我々がまず日本の良さをより知っていき、それを知ってもらいたい、という気持ちを持つことが重要ではないでしょうか。