The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has appointed four new MICE ambassadors to work towards attracting more international conferences to Japan.
These ambassadors are Shinichi Orimo, Director at Tohoku University Advanced Institute for Materials Research; Teiji Tominaga, Professor and Director at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery; Takako Hashimoto, Vice President at Chiba University of Commerce; and Keiji Moriyama Professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
The MICE ambassador program, which aims to utilize people with a wide network in academic and industrial fields both within Japan and overseas, asks its MICE ambassadors to contribute to public relations activities for Japan as a place to hold international conferences and work to attract these conferences as representatives of Japan.
This system started in 2013 and currently has 73 appointees. Besides attracting conferences, the ambassadors may also work as hosts of the events and play educator and public relations roles for international conferences.
In September 2021 the World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, with 3,000 attendees, was held in a hybrid format and in 2019 the International Council of Museums, with 4,500 attendees, was held in Kyoto. Both were attributable to the MICE ambassador program.
JNTO claims to be, “Striving to bring even more conferences to be hosted in Japan through effective and strong development of the MICE Ambassador Program.”
Large-scale MICE facilities are requirements under Japan’s Act on Promotion of Development of Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Areas (IRs), and as such preparation for boosting international conference appeal has become an imperative issue.
Under the nation’s IR guidelines, the maximum capacity of the largest international conference room at each IR must exceed 1,000 persons while the combined capacity of other small to medium international conference rooms must be at least double that of the largest international conference room.
The total floor area of facilities used for exhibitions and trade shows must also meet size requirements based on the size of the largest international conference room as follows:
1. If conference room capacity is 1,000 to 2,999 persons, the exhibition hall must be at least 120,000 square meters in size
2. If conference room capacity is 3,000 to 5,999 persons, the exhibition hall must be at least 60,000 square meters in size
3. If conference room capacity is 6,000 persons or more, the exhibition hall must be at least 20,000 square meters in size