Japan is looking to attract an increasing number of repeat visitors with a new tourism logo designed to remind them of all the things they missed on previous trips.
Unveiled this week by tourism minister Seiji Maehara, the new logo combines two of Japan's most famous and enduring images - the red rising sun and cherry blossoms - with the catchphrase "Japan, Endless Discovery."
"We want to spread it as a tool that can be used on any occasion to let people know how good tourism in Japan is," the minister told reporters at the official opening of the new promotion campaign.
The revamped look replaces the five-year "Yokoso Japan" campaign, which was criticized for using a Japanese term - "yokoso" means welcome - that few foreigners understood.
The Japanese government had set an ambitious target of 10 million foreign visitors in the calendar year of 2010, although that figure is unlikely to be met as a result of the global economic crisis. In 2099, the number of overseas tourists fell 18.7 percent from the previous year to 6.79 million. Tourism officials say that figure was affected by concerns over the H1N1 strain of influenza in Asia.
The majority of visitors to Japan are from South Korea, with 1.59 million tourists in 2009, followed by Taiwan and China.
At some time in the future, Maehara said, Japan wants to have 30 million foreign visitors every year.
Until now, Japan has relied heavily on its heritage and history - as well as its legendary shopping opportunities - to attract tourists, but the Japan National Tourism Office has been given a fresh remit.
In a report issued this week, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has called for more efforts to be made to promote cultural areas such as fashion, animation and art because of their growing international popularity. The ministry predicts these sectors could bring in as much revenue as Japan's famed auto and electrical appliance industries in the future.
As well as the youth market, tourism officials here also plan to promote "medical tourism," underlining the advanced medical services available here.
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