Could NFTs and crypto help Japan’s ‘Cool Japan’ strategy?

Japan has consistently been a leader in the high-tech industry, so it’s a logical step forward that, given the current trends in the field, the Cool Japan movement could include Web3 to strengthen its initiative. Incorporating Web3 into the mix along with the popular culture aspects of the movement could prove to be a mission boon, but the move has yet to be realized by the government-led movement.

Since much of Web3 is still unknown as to its capabilities and future prospects, it is understandable that the government has yet to combine it with its initiative to bring Japan into the future technologically and spread Japanese culture to other regions of the world. but it would certainly increase the potential in many areas.

Creation of “Cool Japan”

If Japanese culture is so popular in other countries, it is understandable that some may not understand why the government even considered it necessary to create the Cool Japan initiative. But just because something is well-known or popular doesn’t necessarily mean it thrives.

Ultimately, Cool Japan was created to promote a positive attitude towards Japan, increase the sales of Japanese goods around the world, and promote tourism. The mission of the movement, set out in its offeris that Japan as a country offers creative solutions to the world’s problems. The goal was not simply to promote the country as a cool place to go or travel, but to show that Japan had useful ideas to offer to the rest of the world.

The TV series Cool Japan explores Japanese culture from the perspective of foreigners. Source: CR Nexus

The country is known for its influence on popular culture, as well as consistent political stability and innovation. But while Japan may have a strong economy, it faces other challenges, such as an aging society, loss of communities, and environmental and energy issues.

To achieve the country’s mission, Cool Japan’s strategy consists of three steps: promoting domestic growth, connecting Japan with other countries, and becoming a Japan that helps the world. Each step has its own objectives set to achieve a common goal, and several state organizations are involved in promoting the initiative, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and even the Cool Japan Movement Promotion Council.

The success of the movement in the recent past is completely unknown, but what is known is that as industries and times change, the strategy should also create more potential for success in the future.

Japanese culture has been popular overseas for decades without slowing down. Everything from anime to manga to cuisine and traditional Japanese clothing has spread and influenced other regions of the world, especially the United States. The Japanese government caught on to this trend and saw its potential. This potential translated into action and led to the “Cool Japan” initiative, which was created to promote Japanese cultural products and technologies around the world in order to increase the country’s cultural exports.

Current state of Web3 in Japan

While Japan may not be the leader in Web3, it is definitely ahead of many other countries.

Weeplus Wang, head of Japanese crypto conference IVS Crypto, spoke to Cryptooshala about where Japan is currently in regards to Web3 and whether the Cool Japan movement has any plans to include Web3 in its initiative to promote the country.

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While Wang said that Cool Japan has nothing to do with Web3, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is making efforts to increase its adoption by Japan.

“Now there are three policies. One policy is taxing companies, which has caused many Web3 companies to leave Japan and move to other countries like Singapore,” Wang said. “However, I think this will change soon. They want to create the best conditions in Japan for doing this kind of business.”

According to Wang, Web3 seems to be developing slowly at the government level, but much faster at the community level. The government is still figuring out what Web3 is and what cryptocurrencies and blockchains are capable of, so movement in this direction is slow.

Widespread use of NFTs

However, at the community level, what Japan is doing with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3 is largely ahead of its time. There are a couple of secondary schools that security courses for students on NFT and Web3, some decentralized autonomous organizations teach people the basics of Web3, and there are even specific policies that include NFT.

“Japan has a special policy called the Hometown Tax. However, you can choose in which region you want to pay tax, it does not have to be the region where you live. When you pay tax to a region, you get back a gift, something special to that region, like a product they are known for,” Wang explained. “Fields that have nothing special give out NFTs. Some of them might be coupons for local restaurants or something like that.”

If this policy were changed to allow exchanges with people outside of Japan, this could very well be a tactic used by Cool Japan to attract tourists from overseas, just like it currently attracts tourists in Japan.

Much of what Japan does with Web3 and cryptocurrencies is internal, but there is also a special market for selling NFTs abroad – anime.

Anime is one aspect of Japanese culture that has become popular all over the world, amassing a large and loyal fan base. Some companies associated with anime released NFTs which were immediately bought by clients abroad.

Wang said, “These companies are trying to use NFTs to raise revenue from overseas rather than within Japan because the rate for people in Japan who have a wallet is very low.”

This is another tactic that the Cool Japan movement can use to increase visibility as a country and as an industry leader by combining aspects of pop culture that appeal to people around the world with innovations that can only be found in Web3.

Future prospects

In order for the Cool Japan movement to truly bring technology and Web3 together, Japan will likely need more social adoption first. Kohei Sagawathe symbol/NEM project and community promoter told Cryptooshala that the process could be slow.

“Blockchains empower individuals and authors, especially when compared to Web2. Transparency is expected to guarantee the authenticity of the content, so you will know its history, who created it, who bought it, etc.,” said Kouhei. “However, it is still evolving and has not been widely accepted in society. Most people don’t even know what it is. Social realization will increase, but little by little.”

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While those who work in the industry (or know at all) may be few, their number is certainly growing, and the same can be said for the Web3 knowledge base in Japan. Kouhei said there are currently a number of services that accept crypto payments and the government is working on regulation and taxation.

As Japan continues to advance its cryptocurrency and Web3 legislation, and the government learns more about what it can do for the country as a whole, it will be interesting to see how companies go about incorporating Web3 into their business practices. Once this becomes a reality, it could give the Cool Japan movement an even better chance of success. But even if the movement itself doesn’t create a relationship with the tech industry, Web3 may well enable Japan to achieve the goals they have set for it.

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