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Economy

Cool Japan Fund to pump 60 billion yen into four projects

TOKYO -- Public-private Cool Japan Fund, aimed at promoting Japanese goods and culture overseas, has chosen four destinations for its first round of investment of roughly 60 billion yen ($547 million), jointly with private sectors. Plans are slated to be officially announced Thursday afternoon.

     One of the projects is revamping Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings' department store in Kuala Lumpur for use as a showroom for the Cool Japan campaign. The store is slated to reopen in October 2015.

     The fund aims to invest around 1 billion yen, while Isetan Mitsukoshi will supply roughly 900 million yen. The revamped store will sell a variety of Japanese merchandises, including affordable Japanese food, character goods such as Hello Kitty products and state-of-the-art Japanese home electronics. Currently, less than 10% of the goods sold there are Japanese.

     Another project is in Ningbo, China, where the fund plans to collaborate with H2O Retailing to build one of the largest Japanese department stores abroad. The total cost for the project is expected to be around 51 billion yen, with the fund and the retailer each contributing 10.5 billion yen and local companies raising the remaining amount. The store is scheduled to open in autumn 2018 with 160,000 sq. meters of total floor space.

     A third project is venture company Tokyo Otaku Mode, in which the fund plans to invest up to 1.5 billion yen over the next three years. Based in the U.S. state of Delaware, the online portal for news on Japanese pop culture also sells goods related to anime, manga, games, music and fashion through its website.

     Lastly, the fund plans to develop an efficient logistics network to supply Japanese food and beverages, including sake and beef, to consumers in Southeast Asia. The fund, in collaboration with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Japan Logistic Systems, is looking to build a high-performance refrigeration and cold-storage warehouse in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh by 2016.

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