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Barbados Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports Invitation Program

Barbados Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports Invitation Program
(From left: APIC Director & Secretary General Mr. Araki, Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, Hon. John A. King; Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Minister, Ms. Hashimoto, and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, Ms. Sharon Drayton

The Minister of Barbados Creative Economy, Culture and Sports Ministry Mr. John King and Deputy Secretary Ms. Sharon Drayton were invited to Tokyo from September 29th to October 5th, 2019. During their stay in Japan they met and conversed with the Tokyo Olympics Minister Ms. Seiko Hashimoto; Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Asako Omi; Mr. Ryohei Miyata, the Commission of the Agency for Cultural Affairs; Mr. Yutaka Takimoto, Deputy Commissioner of Japan Sports Agency; and Professor Mitsuteru Takahashi of Digital Hollywood University. They also received a briefing on the development of Japan’s small and mid-sized companies, ‘incubation system’.

Minister King’s responsibilities cover a wide range of areas. In terms of sports, he had conversations with Olympic Minister Hashimoto and Deputy Commissioner Takimoto of Japan Sports Agency about a number of topics, including how Japan has increased the popularity of sports, improving sports infrastructure, plans to involve elderly in sports activities, government policies regarding sports, sports education at schools, and support of female athletes. As the Minister is a former singer, during his meeting with the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, who happens to be an artist himself, he asked questions about the inspiration for his dolphin works, economic value of the arts, and interaction between young artists and students. Additionally, interest in anime is quite high, and the Minister expressed interest in developing the anime industry as part of Barbados’ tourism industry. Minister King and Professor Takahashi of Digital Hollywood talked at length on this subject, and expressed his hope that Prof. Takahashi will come to Barbados and instruct the younger generations.

Barbados Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports Invitation Program
(Talking with Prof. Takahashi of Digital Hollywood University)
The Minister and Deputy Secretary visited Nanyo, Yamagata, which is going to be a host city for the 2020 Olympics. After visiting the sports facilities which the athletes will use during the games, they paid a visit to the mayor, Mr. Shiraiwa, who had just visited Barbados in August, which led to relaxed conversation between the two parties and a show of hope for continuous friendly ties when Mayor Shiraiwa proposed to take students from Nanyo to visit Barbados the following year. After the meeting, they visited the Cultural Hall next door and participated in the “Nanyo Elementary School Joint Musical Concert”. The Minister was introduced by Mayor Shiraiwa as “the first Minister to visit the city”, and Minister King sang an acapella version of the folksong of Barbados titled “Beautiful Barbados”, which was followed by a loud round of applause. During their stay in Nanyo, the party also visited Kumano shrine and Urushiyama Fruit Orchard.

Barbados Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports Invitation Program
(Visiting Nanyo City Cultural Hall)
On the final day of their itinerary, they visited Kinkaku-ji, Ryu’an-ji, Sagano-Arashiyama, Nijo castle and other locations in Kyoto to get a taste of Japanese culture. Deputy Secretary Drayton was especially impressed with the Japanese traditional houses (Machi-ya), asking pertinent questions such as if the residents receive government support to upkeep the buildings, and how much they receive.

The day after their visit to Nanyo, APIC President Peter Sato held a dinner reception where Minister King talked about his impressions during his first visit to Japan.

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