Jakarta, MINA – Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Masafumi Ishii said his country is ready to welcome tourists, especially Moslems community in the upcoming international sports event Olimpic Games 2020.
Reporters of MINA had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with H.E. Masafumi in his headquarters, Jakarta, on Thursday, August 15. Here is the followings interview:
MINA: How is the development of the halal tourism industry in Japan nowadays?
Ambassador: Okay, you may have to see at Global Muslim Travel Index 2018 that Japan was number four in Muslim destination on among non-OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) countries. It means that Japan halal tourism becomes the priority because we do a better job of providing halal food, and also prayer facilities.
The tourist from Indonesia is also increasing year by year, up to 10 percent, and last year (2018), Indonesian people who went to Japan was about four hundred thousand. It was increased by almost 15 percent.
So, right now we are ready to receive Moslem people to Japan.
MINA: Is Japan also doing Cosmetics and manufactured in the halal industry?
Ambassador: We are talking about it. Cosmetic, it can be very difficult rather than food, but I think it needs to be done. But we would like to show you the miniature of a refrigerator which is produced by Panasonic that this is the first Halal Refrigerator.
From this, I know that halal is not only for food.
MINA: What are the programs from the government of Japan to prepare halal tourism industry?
Ambassador: You know the best practice we are doing is, we have the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). It has three offices here (in Indonesia). On the homepage, you can find out the halal restaurant, and all related to halal tourism. The homepage also provides in Bahasa.
We also trying to raise the knowledge of Japanese people by holding seminars, information programs, create some pamphlets and others. So, we hope the Japanese people know more about Moslems, their customs and needs.
As the information on the website, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) was established in 1964. The activities of JNTO is involved in a broad range of activities both domestically and worldwide, to encourage international tourists from all over the world to visit Japan.
The activities include the promotion of Japanese tourism, operation of the Tourist Information Center in Japan for international visitors, administration of Guide-interpreter examinations, the publication of tourism statistics and market reports, and providing support for international conventions and incentive events.
MINA: How about the preparation of the 2020 Olimpic Games?
Ambassador: In the next upcoming event is, we are going to host the Olimpic event in 2020 and there will come many people of the world and many of them are Moslems. So it’s time to do our job and ready to receive them. The effort has already started.
MINA: How does Japan see the closest competitor, such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, and others that they also concern the development of the halal tourism industry?
Ambassador: I think we have to compete. If many people go to Korea and China, So, we have more chances to attract Moslems to come and move around to Japan and we are happy in this positive competition.
MINA: What is the key to win the competition?
Ambassador: I think we have all ready to do a better job in providing halal food, prayer facility, more information about Japanese customs. There is no magic solution so far.
MINA: The majority of Japan are non-Muslims, So, how do they think about Islam?
Ambassador: I think Japanese people have an open mind and general readiness to the public. They are ready to have a better knowledge of Moslem culture, and also there is a very good program to know a new culture. So, we understand them and they also understand us.
MINA: Do you see Indonesia as a partner in the development of the halal tourism industry?
Ambassador: Indonesia has a great potential to do a great job. You have to proud of it. Indonesia has a lot of Muslims living with Islamic culture while we need to develop the halal industry. So, I think we can work together and both can get a benefit. So it is a win-win situation.
MINA: What is your message for Indonesian people that we are facing independence day in the upcoming days?
Ambassador: I say congratulation to the 74 anniversary of independence day. You have done a great job, and you grow even faster than before. The relationship between Indonesia and Japan is very close and it will continue to the future. So, if young Indonesians are ready to come to Japan, we are ready to give training. We need young talented generations like you all to get success. We are very happy to help you. (A/P2/Sj)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)