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Cool Osaka? July 24, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in general, Japan.
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Osaka, modelling itself on the UK’s Cool Britannia effort (which seems so 90’s) has announced the Osaka Brand Summit to be held on the 25th of October.

Apparently the aim is to convince people the rest of Japan and the world that there is more to Osaka than Takoyaki and Owarai.

Officials and the local business community have apparently launched this PR campaign worried that many people associate negative images like muggings (of which Osaka boasts the highest incidence in the country) and bad manners (Osaka-jin being stereotyped as loud mouthed and common, and having shocking driving manners).

I guess they forgot the fact that we also associate Osaka with a thriving underworld (e.g. the recent Asuka-kai scandal), a huge homeless problem (i.e. the de facto slums of the Airin district), and the imminent bankrupcy of the local municipal government burdened under 1) an immense amount of debt from financing public sector white elephant construction projects (which are defended as a) having provided work to the construction industry during a time when the industry in Osaka was hard hit, or b) the difference in actual vs calculated demand for the products of the construction projects could not have been foreseen at the time (which is clearly bullsh*t, but is a line offered by bureaucrats all over the country and hardly anyone is ever held accountably) and 2) an inefficient, lazy, money wasting, and militant bureaucratic public sector workforce.

To be fair, there is a strong manufacturing base in and around Osaka, the Matsushita and Sanyo related clusters being two major examples. But Sanyo’s difficulties of late are another big worry for Osaka…

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