Japan Meeting & Incentive News Print This Page March 2012


Meet Japan 2012 was held!

The week-long “Meet Japan 2012” was held in Sapporo from February 24 to March 2, 2012. This hosted buyers program organized by JNTO invites international convention decision makers to Japan and introduces various candidate cities as the destination for their meetings.

After staying one night in Tokyo, the participants went on one of the four study tour courses arranged so that they could visit cities ideal for hosting international conferences: 1. Matsumoto and Chiba; 2. Matsue and Kobe; 3. Kanazawa and Hamamatsu; and 4. Kanazawa and Yokohama. During these three-day, two-night study tours, the participants collected a wealth of information about convention facilities, accommodations and sightseeing options. They enjoyed a very fruitful time, not only by visiting facilities that seemed most likely to meet the specifications for their particular international conference, but also through the introductions to content-rich post-convention events and spouse programs. These included a performance of Japanese drumming, experiencing a tea ceremony and joining a purification ceremony at a Shinto Hachimangu Shrine.

After the study tours, the participants from all four courses met in Sapporo, which is located about 35 minutes from New Chitose Airport, the hub airport for international and domestic flights to and from Hokkaido. Prior to the business discussions held on the day of their arrival, a welcome party hosted by the Sapporo International Communication Plaza Foundation was held at the Glass Pyramid in Moerenuma Park, designed by world-famous artist Isamu Noguchi. Inside the beautifully illuminated structure, the participants thoroughly enjoyed drinks served at a bar counter made from ice and French cuisine cooked with fresh, locally grown ingredients, which was also served to overseas ministers during the 2010 Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade in Sapporo. They were entertained by live Mongolian music, consisting of hoomii throat-singing accompanied by the morin khuur stringed instrument.

Ice Sculptured Mini-bar

At the business discussions held the following day at Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo, information was exchanged about convention facilities, support programs, and so on. Representatives of 10 Japanese cities participated, including staff from convention bureaus that were not included in the study tour courses. A farewell party was held in the evening of the final day at the historical red-brick building of the Sapporo Beer Garden, originally built as a sugar factory in 1890 and converted into a beer hall in 1966. The participants enjoyed a demonstration of how to cook the local hotpot dish called “chanchan-yaki” as well as a powerful performance of dancing to a local folk song performed by Shinkotoni Tenburyujin, a YOSAKOI Soran team, dressed in Japanese costume.

JNTO hosts the “Meet Japan” program every year, and around 60% of the participants up to now have subsequently held their international conferences in Japan. JNTO strives to introduce the great variety of attractions Japan has to offer by making the best use of the tourist resources unique to each candidate venue.

“Meet Japan 2013” will be held next year. If you are considering holding an international conference in Japan, why not take this opportunity to visit candidate cities with beautiful scenic spots around the country, inspect the quality convention facilities and tourist attractions, and experience Japan’s warm hospitality for yourself?

-Comments from participants-
<Participant 1>
Name: Dr. Thomas Hinton (Mr.) (U.S.A)

The warmth and hospitality of the Japanese at all locations was impressive. The country has a wonderful culture and sense of calmness. It’s no surprise that your transportation systems and convention facilities work so well!

<Participant 2>
Name: Dr. Tae Won Jun (Mr.) (Korea)

I would like to express my special thanks to JNTO for perfect preparation, kindness, hospitality. I definitely would like to recommend my colleagues to appoint Japan for future meeting or conference.

Unique venues in Sapporo
Moerenuma Park's Glass pyramid

Designed by the late Isamu Noguchi and opened in 2003 as the core facility of Moerenuma Park, the 32-meter-high glass pyramid is ideal for those hoping to organize a unique party or impressive reception. The building is lit up in the evening, producing a fantastic, chic atmosphere enhanced even further by the facility’s own French restaurant serving dishes made with locally produced seasonal ingredients.
Fully equipped with video equipment, including projectors, the venue can be used for meetings, exhibitions and workshops. In addition, it’s an eco-friendly green MICE facility with heat-absorbent floors and an air-conditioning system that efficiently uses only natural cold energy, such as the outside air and snow.

Moerenuma Park Glass Pyramid

The Sapporo Beer Garden

Among Sapporo’s few historic structures, these factory buildings with more than 100 years of history are designated as a Hokkaido Heritage. The chimneys and red brick walls, which remain in their original state, are illuminated at night to provide a very pleasant atmosphere. You can use this as a unique party venue that provides the delights of fresh locally brewed draft beer and Genghis Khan mutton barbecue, a Hokkaido specialty.

Sapporo Beer Garden

Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium

This stadium, which was the venue for the large hill jump at the Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics, can be used for sports events, meetings, music events, and even for parties combined with summer jumping attractions.

Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium

See you at this year’s trade fairs!

JNTO will be exhibiting at the following trade fairs this year. Please pay us a visit at the Japan Booth!

IT&CM China
Venue: Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, Shanghai, China
Date: April 17 (Tue.) – 19 (Thur.), 2012
Japan Booth: No.194
Venue: Messe Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
Date: May 22 (Tue.) – 24 (Thur.), 2012
Venue: Coex, Seoul, South Korea
Date: July 3 (Tue.) – 5 (Thur.), 2012
Venue: China National Convention Centre, Beijing, China
Date : September 12 (Wed.) – 14 (Fri.), 2012
IMEX America
Venue : Sands Expo Convention Center, Las Vegas, U.S.A.
Date : October 9 (Tue.) – 11 (Thur.), 2012
Venue : Fira Gran Via Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Date: November 27 (Tue.) – 29 (Thur.), 2012

What's Up in Japan

ICCA CEO’s Visit to Sendai

Four council members of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) visited Sendai on January 25, 2012, including the CEO, Martin Sirk.

ICCA was founded in 1963 with the purpose of acquiring knowledge about the international meetings market and creating a network of people involved in the market for the exchange of information related to their operations. The head office is in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Around 900 suppliers are currently ICCA members, including national tourist bureaus, convention bureaus, conference facilities, hotels and resorts in 87 countries. ICCA provides them with data on more than 10,000 international meetings.

When CEO Martin Sirk visited Japan to give a lecture at the MICE seminar hosted by the Japan Tourism Agency, JNTO organized an inspection tour to Sendai. The city was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, and the visit gave him an opportunity to evaluate in person the recovery situation of the Japanese MICE industry and cities.

Sendai is about one and half hours by bullet train from Tokyo. After arriving, Mr. Sirk and his group paid an inspection visit to the Westin Hotel Sendai, which will be serving as the venue for WTTC, the World Travel & Tourism Council Meeting being held in April this year. The 3.11 earthquake did little damage to the hotel building; thanks to seismic engineering safety controls and base-isolating technology, it only shook about 23 centimeters.

After the inspection, the group exchanged opinions with representatives of Sendai City and other convention-related organizations at the Sendai International Center. Sendai Tourism and Convention Bureau explained what happened to Sendai City during and after the earthquake and introduced the outline of its five-year recovery plan, which includes development of a new event facility and the completion of subway lines in the city by 2015.

The party had lunch at Shoukeikaku restaurant, the former residence of Lord Date that is also available as a unique party venue. Built in Japanese-style architecture in the early 20th century, it serves local cuisine, including dishes served in miniature chests of drawers, which represent a famous craft item produced in this region. Members of the Imperial Family also sometimes visit the restaurant.

The party also visited Ryokan Sakan at Akiu Onsen hot spring, located about 40 minutes by car from the center of Sendai. This long-established Japanese inn, with a history going back 1,000 years, served as the venue for the ASEAN+3 Meeting held in December 2011. It has a small convention hall and meeting facilities.

Gary Grimmer, a member of the ICCA board of directors, gave the following comments after making an inspection tour to Miyagi Exhibition Center (Yume Messe Miyagi), an exhibition hall that was greatly affected by the tsunami.

“When I visited Sendai, I knew that I would feel sad. What I didn’t expect was to also feel so uplifted. Sad because of the memories of what had happened there that affected the lives of so many people. Uplifted by the spirit and resilience of the people of Sendai which is all around you.
When you visit Sendai today you remember the news coverage, and the tragedy is a large part of the narrative. The story is willingly told out of respect for those who suffered. Were it not for that, you would be excused if you didn’t realize anything tragic had happened there. Sendai is a normally functioning, colorful, energetic, well-organized community. But, while Sendai has mostly completed its clean-up and recovery, it hasn’t stopped there. Instead, it is expressing a clear vision for the future. That vision is to be a new model city and one that inspires others in terms of preparedness, innovation, design and strength of community.
When I recall the images that I saw on television less than a year ago, and compare them with what I just saw with my own eyes, the two words that immediately spring to mind are ‘amazing’ and ‘humbling.’”

CEO Martin Sirk presented his comments on the ICCA homepage as a press release:

Although it’s still unclear in some areas just outside Sendai when the repairs will be completed, the city center looks as lively as usual and there are few signs of the disaster. The airport has been fully repaired and has become a new airport facility drenched with sunlight. At IMEX this year, the Sendai Tourism and Convention Bureau will exhibit for the first time at the Wild Card Booth. Please drop by to hear the latest information on local places around Sendai.

Introduction to Sendai

Popularly described as “Mori no Miyako” or “The City of Trees”, Sendai features nature in abundance and spectacular seasonal transitions. Although it’s located 300 kilometers (180 miles) north of Tokyo on the Pacific coast of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four major islands, the city has a relatively temperate climate throughout the year. While fostering state-of-the-art technology in the Tohoku region, Sendai is known for its lush green environment: magnificent zelkova trees line the streets and the pristine Hirose River flows through the city center.

Provided by Sendai-city

The many convention facilities located in the heart of the city, including the Sendai International Center, can handle a variety of international meetings. The Akiu Onsen and Sakunami Onsen hot springs in the suburbs make it possible to hold large-scale resort-type conventions that fully utilize the rich hot spring resources.

The city was established by the famous warlord Date Masamune (1566-1636), who was known as the “One-Eyed Dragon”, and its numerous historical sites add an air of ancient romanticism to the streetscapes. Sendai, a city in which nature and history blend in harmony, is an optimal venue for post-convention events.


The city offers very convenient access. Sendai Airport handles seven regular international flights, which bring Japan closer to East Asia, and there are regular direct flights to 10 other Japanese cities. In addition, Tokyo is only 1 hour 42 minutes away on the Tohoku Shinkansen. And the Tozai Line subway, scheduled to open in 2015, will make Sendai an even more comfortable and functional city.

Conference facilities:
Sendai International Center

This large convention facility adjacent to leafy Aobayama Park includes a main hall with seating for 1,000 (capable of handling simultaneous interpreting in six languages), an exhibition/reception hall with an area of 755 sq.m, and a total of 12 large, middle and small meeting rooms. It’s fully equipped with the facilities and functions to meet the needs of conferences and receptions in any kind of field. Although some rooms were temporarily closed after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the whole center returned to normal in August, and it now looks very beautiful with no reminders of the earthquake whatsoever. Many conferences and meetings have already been held since then and various events are scheduled in the near future, including major international and domestic conferences.

Sendai International Center

Miyagi Exhibition Center (Yume Messe Miyagi)

This is the largest exhibition center in the Tohoku Region. With a pillar-free area of 7,500 sq.m., it can be used for all kinds of exhibitions. Although it has been closed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, business will be resumed in late July 2012.

Subsidy Programs:

Sendai City operates a subsidy system for conventions. The amount of the subsidy varies according to the number of participants, up to a maximum of two million yen. Various other support programs are provided, including the acceptance of advance inspection tours. For further information, please check the homepage of Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureau.

Contact: Sendai Tourism & Convention Bureau

2011 IAPCO Award won by The XXIII Congress of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH)

The XXIII Congress of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH2011) had the honor of winning the 2011 IAPCO International Client Award.
Because of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami and nuclear accident, many international conferences had to be cancelled or postponed and there was extended doubt as to whether or not it was viable to hold ISTH2011. In the face of a great deal of pressure, the organizer dealt with the ever-changing situation in a flexible manner concerning risk assessment and a crisis management system, appropriate event insurance cover, and systematic conference preparation, and the congress was completed flawlessly.

As a result of his efforts, Dr. Yasuo Ikeda, Professor of Waseda University and President of ISTH, was presented with the trophy and award certificate on Friday, March 9, 2012, just one year after the disaster. It was the first time a congress held in Japan had received the award.

Dr. Yasuo Ikeda (second from right)

IAPCO: The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers was founded in 1968 aiming to improve the quality of conference management companies. More than 100 PCOs from 35 countries are members.

IAPCO Award: the annual awards are presented to recognize excellence in the organization of conferences, following the judgment of the IAPCO Council based on nominations by IAPCO members.

Name of the conference: XXIII Congress of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH2011)
Date: July 23 (Sat.) – 28 (Thur.), 2011
Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto
Participants: more than 4,500 from 70 countries
Japan’s Promotional Video Available Now!

Our new promotional video including new footage has been completed! If you are thinking of holding an international conference in Japan or an incentive tour to Japan, please make the best use of this exciting video for promotional purposes.

Downloading from our homepage is available:

More than 200 MICE-related video images and photos (nationwide conference halls, hotels, sightseeing spots, cultural experience, etc.) can be viewed by either location or category. There are 3-minute, 30-second and 15-second versions available, so that you can use the download freely depending on the purpose and style of your presentation.

Opening of Narita Airport’s First Dedicated Corporate Jet Terminal

On March 31, 2012, Narita Airport will open the Business Aviation Terminal -Premier Gate-, an exclusive terminal for corporate and other VIP customers using corporate and private jets. If you are thinking of holding an incentive tour to Japan making use of a private jet, how about trying this exclusive terminal to make the trip even more memorable?

For further information, please check the following website:

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