Japan Meeting & Incentive News Print This Page May 2011


Gambaro Nippon!
~See you in recovering Japan~

On March 11th 2001, Japan was severely damaged by a very strong earthquake that struck the Tohoku Region, the giant tsunami that it caused, and a nuclear reactor accident. The disaster occurred around what is normally the high season for tourism, when people can enjoy the cherry blossom all over the country, and it resulted in a great decrease in the number of tourists, especially from overseas. Cherry-blossom-viewing parties, at which you can have a fun time with friends eating and drinking under the cherry trees, are a popular annual event. However, this year the celebrations were very restrained out of consideration for all those in the disaster-stricken areas. The cherry trees bloomed and the petals scattered very quietly.
Cherry blossom, regarded as one of the Japan’s symbolic flowers, has been used since last May as the logo for our catchphrase ‘Japan Endless Discovery.’ Since the quake, the flowers have bloomed beautifully as usual in every part of the country and they have provided support to the nation as ‘a symbol of restoration.’ This catchphrase includes the meaning that ‘Japan is a country where visitors can experience endless discoveries.’ It’s hoped that visitors from abroad will return to Japan many times to deeply appreciate the great variety of tourism resources it has to offer, including its rich history, its vibrant traditional culture, and the bounties of nature that are typified by the cherry blossom.
In Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Sapporo, Osaka, and all parts of the country outside the areas that have suffered damage, daily life has been going on more or less the same as usual.

It is still only two months since the quake, but rehabilitation work has been going on steadily in the affected areas. The Tohoku Shinkansen Line, which we introduced in our March issue, was temporarily put out of service by the disaster, but it returned to full operation on April 29. Driven by this, efforts to restore the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture are now actively underway. It enjoyed wonderful displays of cherry blossom, including the Hitome Senbon-zakura that offers a panoramic view of 1,000 cherry trees in bloom.
Sendai International Center, the biggest convention facility in the city—with a hall that can accommodate 1,000 people—had to suspend operations for a while, but all its facilities were reopened on April 18, except for the exhibition hall.

Sendai (Hitome Senbon-zakura)

Sendai-Toshogu Shrine

The Westin Sendai, which opened in August 2010, suffered little damage thanks to its state-of-the-art base-isolation structure, and it has been operating as usual since April 6.


The Westin Sendai

The Westin Sendai

A decision has been made to hold Sendai’s famous ‘Tanabata-matsuri’ summer festival as usual from August 6 to 8 in the belief that it will help to support the restoration of the city.
‘Sustainable support’ will only be possible if Japan is visited by as many tourists as it has been up to now...or even more. With the hope of fully restoring the country, we sincerely look forward to your visit.

<Useful Information>

Afected Area Map: March 11 Earthquake and Nuclear Power Plant Accident
Afected Area Map: March 11 Earthquake and Nuclear Power Plant Accident

As this map shows, only one part of the country was struck by the earthquake. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located about 200 kilometers north of Tokyo, 580 kilometers from Osaka and 1,770 kilometers from Okinawa. Conferences can be conducted as usual in all the areas of the country which were unaffected by the disaster. The organizers of the conferences that are still being considered in those areas have been sent a letter from the Japanese Government, in cooperation with convention bureaus, guaranteeing the operation of meetings without any difficulties. Some of those conferences have already been confirmed. In April, after the issue of the letter, confirmation was received that the International Lions Clubs Convention will be held in Fukuoka in 2016.

<A message from the former International Lions Club President>

“We also look forward to working with you and everyone in Fukuoka on a successful 2016 Convention. There is much work ahead of us! Director Furo worked very hard on the city's behalf and I am delighted he was successful in bringing the convention to Japan.”

Joseph Wroblewski, former International Lions Club President (right)

*The Significance of ‘Level 7’, the provisional rating for nuclear accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

<The View of IAEA (source: Jiji Press)>
When the provisional INES level rating for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was raised to 7, the same as the rating given to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in the former Soviet Union, Mr. Denis Flory, IAEA's Deputy Director General and Head of the Department on Nuclear Safety and Security, held a press conference on April 12 at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. He pointed out that the two accidents were completely different in terms of both nature and size.
Mr. Flory explained that a nuclear reactor exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant automatically stopped after the Great East Japan Earthquake. He also emphasized the considerable difference in scale of the radioactive substances emitted at the two locations: 5.2 million terra (trillion) Becquerels in the Chernobyl accident, but only 370,000 terra Becquerels at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, just 10% of the Chernobyl level.

See you at “IMEX 2011”!

JNTO will be exhibiting at ‘IMEX 2011, The Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events’ to be held in Frankfurt, Germany for three days from May 24 to May 26 in cooperation with the Japan Tourism Agency. With the following 11 participating organizations, we are hoping to convey to everyone directly the charms of Japan as a MICE destination that have not been altered in any way by the earthquake.
During the period of IMEX, please drop by the Japan Booth to pick up all kinds of information, such as the attractions of each city, its services and ideas for theme parties. The Japan Booth will be holding a ‘Happy Hour’ event from 17:00 on the 24th and 25th, at which sake will be served. Demonstrations of the Tea Ceremony will be held throughout the exhibition period. (Schedule details will be available at the venue.)
Please feel free to visit the Japan Booth!

IMEX 2011 (Frankfurt, Germany)
IMEX 2011, The Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events
(URL: http://www.imex-frankfurt.com/
Date: May 24 (Tue.) – May 26 (Thu), 2011
Venue: Messe Frankfurt
Japan Booth: Hall 8 Stand No. B420
*Convention Bureaus: Chiba Convention Bureau and International Center, Kyoto Convention Bureau, Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau, Sapporo International Communication Plaza Foundation, Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau
*DMCs & TO: JTB Global Marketing & Travel Inc., KNT Kintetsu International, Nippon Travel Agency Co. Ltd., Toptour Corporation
*Hotels: Hotel Granvia Kyoto, Swissotel Nankai Osaka
A total of 11 organizations and companies
Listed by type of business and in alphabetical order.

<A message from the London office>
Name:Chad Shiver from JNTO London office
Comments:“Our main focus at IMEX this year will be to get the message across to planners that most regions of Japan used in the meetings and event industry remain as they were before the earthquake, and the country is looking forward to welcoming tourists back.”

Mr. Chad Shiver(left)

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, the venue for Meet Japan 2011, awarded a 2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation
~Japan’s first UNESCO award recognizing cultural heritage conservation~

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, won a ‘2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation.’ It was the first time for a Japanese heritage site to win an award, and a special ceremony was held on April 12.
The Awards are designed to commend private or public-private joint preservation and renovation projects for cultural heritage sites in the Asia-Pacific region, and the business achievements of the Red Brick Warehouse were highly praised.
According to UNESCO, the major reasons for its award included ‘careful and delicate renovation work over nine years,’ ‘excellent public-private partnership,’ and ‘presenting a drive for urban renewal in the waterfront area.’ A high evaluation was given to the fact that this historic building founded in 1911 as a facility for the Yokohama Customs Service was reopened in 2002 as a commercial and cultural facility as the result of a public-private joint renovation project. It has become a very popular tourist spot visited by around five million people every year.

~ ‘Meet Japan 2011’ farewell party held at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse ~

JNTO carried out the ‘Meet Japan 2011’ hosted buyers program from Friday, February 25 to Thursday, March 3. It was attended by 10 leading association executives and meeting planners from six countries who are planning to hold international conventions in Japan in the near future. The program is held annually to invite those who are thinking of Japan as a destination candidate for holding an international convention and to offer them the chance to actually visit cities full of tourist attractions. At the same time, the program can provide them with useful information on convention facilities, tourist attractions and support programs through business discussions with local convention and visitors bureaus. Kanazawa was chosen as the venue for the trade mart last year, and it was well-received. The venue for the business discussions this year was Yokohama, the port city located near Tokyo.

A welcome reception hosted by the Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau was held at the Yokohama Sankeien Garden. A grand farewell party in the evening after the business discussions on the next day was held at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, which won a 2010 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation and is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its foundation. The participants highly evaluated it as a unique venue.
JNTO hosted the “Meet Japan 2011” just one week before the Great East Japan Earthquake and we received messages of support one after another from the participants of various nationalities who had been here with us. We would like to introduce the message from one participant who decided to hold a conference in Japan after joining the program.

<Participant’s voice>
Name:Dr. Christiane Fellbaum
She selected Matsue as the site for her organization’s meeting after visiting the city on this program.
“We are really looking forward to the Global WordNet meeting in Matsue in 2012, and are fully confident that Japan will be as ready and prepared to welcome us as ever. I truly hope that recent events don’t stop people from going to Japan, as it truly has a great deal to offer.”

Dr. Christiane Fellbaum(third from left)

What’s Up in Japan

Tobu Sightseeing Service Center reopened

Asakusa-eki Gaikokujin Ryoko Center, one of the tourist information offices in the JNTO Visit Japan Information Network, moved from the North Exit of Asakusa Station to the Central Exit on March 11, 2011. It reopened as the Tobu Sightseeing Service Center. The relocation means that the center is now located just in front of Asakusa Station, making it very convenient for visitors to popular Tokyo sightseeing spots such as Sensoji Temple with its famous gate and huge paper lantern.

The Asakusa area and spots along the Tobu Railroad, including the 634-meter-tall Tokyo Sky Tree—the world’s tallest radio tower that will open in spring 2012—are expecting many visitors from home and abroad.
Japan is making all kinds of efforts so that visitors from abroad can enjoy safe and comfortable trips. Why don’t you visit Japan yourself for a truly memorable and satisfying experience?


Tokyo Tower : it will take over their enrolement as a broadcasting tower to Sky Tree

What’s Up in Japan

International conferences have been successfully held: LinuxCon in Yokohama and AIB in Nagoya
“Japan is safe”: celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have visited Japan one after another

LinuxCon, the international conference on Linux, an open source software, was held for three days from June 1 at Pacifico Yokohama, which is located in Yokohama, just 30 minutes by train from the center of Tokyo. Around 500 engineers from all over the world participated. The conference which went ahead as scheduled partly for the chance of supporting the nation’s recovery included charity activities such as the sale of T-shirts. It was very favorably evaluated by everyone attending. Please access the following website to view some participant interviews:



In addition, The Academy of International Business (AIB) Annual Meeting, a business administration conference (for up to 1,400 participants), was held in Nagoya from June 24 to 28. Dr. Tunga Kiyak, the Managing Director of AIB Secretariat, provided us with the following comments.

"The conference went beautifully. When everything was said and done, we had over 950 participants, and they were all very appreciative of the fact that we decided to stay with Nagoya for the conference. We all loved the Japanese hospitality and professionalism, not to mention your delicious cuisine and amazing history and culture. It was also very nice to have the Mayor of Nagoya, the Chairman of Toyota, and the CEO of JR-Central all speak at our conference, as they provided many valuable insights to our participants about business in Japan. Overall, it has certainly been a memorable experience.
Thank you again for all your support throughout the conference."

Tunga Kiyak, Ph.D.
Managing Director,
Academy of International Business (AIB)

The gala party for the AIB Annual Meeting was held at Atsuta Shrine, which will be marking the 1,900th anniversary of its foundation in 2013. The participants enjoyed a fresh summer evening at the shrine surrounded by the deep, tranquil forest with an event based on a typical Japanese summer festival.

Interviews at AIB:

Atsuta Jingu’s website:

Moreover, distinguished international figures from various fields have been visiting Japan since the earthquake, and all the events they participated in were carried out smoothly. They included Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the Metropolitan Opera from New York, who all performed as scheduled. Their comments, and many others, can be viewed on the following website that provides updates on the current situation in Japan:


Greater convenience and access in Osaka, the gateway to western Japan!
‘Osaka Station City’, the new complex facility at Osaka Station!

Granvia Osaka Hotel(NANIWA)

Osaka Station City

Osaka Station City, directly connected to JR Osaka Station, the gateway to Osaka, has just been born as a new base for the Kansai region and a new landmark of the city. Located in the complex is Hotel Granvia Osaka, with a total of 648 guestrooms and a banquet hall that can hold up to 500 guests, a department store, a cinema complex, a sports club, a hospital, restaurants and even a wedding hall. This makes it possible to respond to any conference requirement regardless of the weather.

A huge rectangular domed structure, stretching 180 meters from east to west and 100 meters from north to south, covers the platforms of Osaka Station. Inside the facility that links the tower buildings on the north and south sides of the station, there are eight unique squares with various features under the themes of Water, Green, Time, Eco, and Information. One of the squares named Tenku-no-noen (Farm in the Sky) grows local vegetables, fruits and seasonal crops so that visitors can come in contact with soil and nature right in the middle of the city center and can even experience harvesting.

Besides the promotion of rooftop greening, the facility includes many environment-conscious initiatives that make efficient use of the gigantic complex, such as solar and wind power generation systems, the reuse of rainwater, and insulation using double-layered glass.

In addition, further developments are underway on the north side of Osaka Station to create a world-class facility called Grand Front Osaka. Besides office facilities and hotels, a large-sized international conference hall that will serve as a base for intellectual and creative activities is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2013.
Don’t take your eyes off Osaka, with its highly accessible and convenient facilities!


Osaka Station City

Tobu Convention Center to be opened in 2014
The Tobu Convention Center in Shizuoka Prefecture to open

Shizuoka Prefecture is located at the center of the Japanese Archipelago. Both the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains and the Tomei Expressway run through it, connecting the prefecture directly to the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, about 100 kilometers away and western Japan. Besides its many traditional hot spring resorts, the prefecture is the home of Mt. Fuji, the symbol of Japan, and it provides easy access to popular sightseeing spots such as Hakone and Izu.

The prefectural government has designated the eastern part of Shizuoka as “an area of healthy urban communities centered around Mt. Fuji that communicate with the world”. It is promoting the Fuji Pharma Valley Project, with the Shizuoka Cancer Center at its core, and aiming to build up civic functions of a high order, including the promotion of conventions.

Kira Messe Numazu, which opened in October 1998 on the north side of Numazu Station, the eastern gateway to Shizuoka, boasted a total of more than five million visitors before it was closed in March 2010. A new Tobu Convention Center is due to open in its place in 2014. It will be equipped with conference facilities including a main meeting room for up to 1,300 participants, exhibition facilities with a floor area of 3,900 square metres, a hotel with 150 guestrooms, and a parking lot for more than 500 cars. The exhibition and event facility will be opened first in 2013.

The facility will be built next to the North Exit of Numazu Station, which is about one hour from Tokyo using the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train and the regular JR line.
For further information, please access the following website.


Enjoy traditional culture and subtropical resort life at the same time!
Okinawa MICE Project 2011 will be held in Okinawa on Monday, Sept. 26 and Tuesday Sept. 27.

Okinawa is a resort island with a subtropical climate located a two-and-a-half hour flight from Tokyo. Have you considered holding a conference there?
The Japanese Archipelago stretches for 3,000 kilometers from north to south. Located at its southernmost tip, Okinawa Prefecture consists of the main island of 1,207.87 square kilometers, 49 other inhabited islands and many uninhabited islands. Naha Airport on the main island is the gateway to Okinawa. The Okinawa MICE Project 2011 will be held for two days on September 26 and 27 at the Okinawa Convention Center, the Bankoku Shinryokan, and other neighboring facilities that are located along the coastline about one hour’s drive from Naha Airport, in order to introduce a variety of Okinawan MICE contents ranging from hotels to distilleries.

On September 26, MICE suppliers will gather at the Okinawa Convention Center, the largest MICE facility in the prefecture, which features a unique traditional roof and impressive open construction. They will conduct promotional activities about new Okinawan MICE contents and MICE project proposals. In the evening of the same day, an incentive-type theme party with the title “Okinawa MICE Night” will be held.
On the following day, September 27, the focus will be on international conventions or corporate meetings or conferences and incentive tours as the “New MICE Frontier in Okinawa”. The participants will be able to enjoy Okinawan MICE attractions imbued with a subtropical atmosphere at the Bankoku Shinryokan, the venue for Japan’s first resort-style summit, the 2000 Kyushu-Okinawa G-8 Summit. Why not take this opportunity to experience the charm of Okinawan MICE for yourself?
For further details, please access the following website:


Hotel Update

Prominent world brands landing in Japan one after another!
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto/Okinawa, Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, Marriott International Osaka are all opening soon.

The city of Kyoto with its elegant townscapes and neighboring areas attracts so many people from home and abroad that securing accommodation facilities can be difficult, especially in the cherry blossom and autumn leaf-viewing seasons. But it will soon be possible to find global-level service with improved quality that perfectly blends with Kyoto’s traditional culture.
Ritz-Carlton Hotels is so well known for its high level of customer satisfaction and quality service that it is the only global hotel chain in the service industry to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards that were established in 1987. Following its expansion into Osaka and Tokyo, the Ritz Carlton Kyoto will open in the spring of 2014. The high-class facility will be equipped with 136 luxurious rooms with an average standard room size of 50 square meters, the largest in Kyoto. Its location beside the Kamo River at Nijo-ohashi will provide easy access to the city’s popular entertainment districts such as the largest, Gion, and Kawaramachi-dori. The Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto is also scheduled to open in 2014.

Moreover, in Osaka, only a short distance from Kyoto, the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel will open in the spring of 2014, the third Marriott brand hotel in Japan following Nagoya and Okinawa. It will be a tie-up between Miyako Hotels & Resorts, which has a strong network nationwide, and Marriot International, which operates about 3,600 accommodation facilities in 71 countries and regions. The Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel will be located on the upper floors (19th, 20th, 38th to 55th, and 57th) of the 300-meter-tall, 60-storey multipurpose skyscraper that will be Japan’s highest building in an excellent location with a direct link to Kansai International Airport. It will feature an outdoor rooftop observatory with a panoramic view, a museum with an area of about 1,000 square meters on the 16th floor, and an urban-style complex department store stretching all the way from the first basement to the 14th floor, with a total salesfloor area of around 100,000 square meters, the largest in the country. With its museum and observatory area, this will surely be an ideal and unique venue.
Kise Bettei Hotel & Spa, an Okinawan resort facility very popular both at home and abroad, which has been offering blissful moments to the wealthy in its spacious and luxurious facilities, will be closing down on September 1, 2011. The venue will be refurbished and re-opened as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Okinawa in April 2012 prior to the Ritz-Carlton Hotels’ expansion in the Kansai region. The concept of the new hotel will blend the Ritz-Carlton style and Okinawan culture in a design that presents high quality with a subdued appearance. This will be the first resort hotel created as a conversion project in Japan for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. The international network of the luxurious Ritz-Carlton brand will surely further promote the charms of Okinawa as a resort destination to the world.

For details about Marriott International and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, please access the following websites:

Marriott International:

The Ritz-Carlton:

Kise Bettei Hotel (will be refurbished to Ritz-Carlton Hotel Okinawa)

The Osaka Mariott Miyako Hotel(Image)

The Ritz Carlton Kyoto (Image)

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