Bureaucrats seek to pick winners with $1 billion ‘Cool Japan’ Fund

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By Junko Fujita TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s industry bureaucrats once guided the nation’s world-beating drive to export cars and electronics. The “Cool Japan Fund,” to launch on Monday, aims eventually to use about $1 billion of mostly public funds to boost distinctive food and drink, fashion, animated and live-action movies and other such “soft” exports. Although conceived before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office last December, it fits his theme that “Japan is back”. But Nobuyuki Ota, chief executive of Cool Japan Fund Inc, said it made sense for the government-dominated effort to pick winners among companies keen to expand abroad.

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