Japan to Step Up Efforts to Host Int’l Conferences, Biz Events

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in November 2020

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The Japan Tourism Agency will strengthen its measures, such as introducing a new subsidy program, in fiscal 2024 in a bid to help the country host more international conferences and business events.

The agency will shoulder part of costs of installing communications networks at event venues and developing human resources with know-how on attracting events known as MICE, an acronym for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, informed sources said.

An action plan to promote inbound tourism, adopted by the government in May last year, includes a goal for Japan to rank fifth in the world by 2030 in terms of the number of international conferences it hosts, up from 12th in 2022.

Although the number of visitors to Japan has been recovering, the country hosted only 553 international conferences in 2022, sharply down from 3,621 in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency will provide subsidies to local governments managing event facilities and businesses to cover half of the costs of introducing communications networks, such as wireless local area networks, at such venues, with the aid amount capped at ¥20 million per project, the sources said.

It will also support the introduction of digital signage to promote paperless meetings, according to the sources.

The agency will also subsidize half of the costs for local organizations in charge of campaigning activities to draw up promotion strategies and take courses on MICE trends, the sources said. The ceiling on the aid will be set at ¥3 million.