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Japan Launches Headlong Into Metaverse in Bid To Revitalize Economy

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Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed the 210th session of Japan’s National Diet.
  • In his speech on public policy, he emphasized the need to expand the social integration of Web3, including services involving the metaverse and NFTs
  • Kishida has been supportive of advancing the country’s cryptocurrency efforts since coming to office last year.
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The prime minister of Japan has said the country would prioritize investments in digital technology, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse, during an annual address to the country’s legislature.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke about the current state of affairs in Japan, from its pandemic response, to how it would cope with rising inflation and interest rates, in a speech outlining public policy at the 210th session of Japan’s National Diet on Oct. 3. 

Japan to prioritize Web3 development

One priority, the prime minister emphasized, would be focusing on supporting the social implementation of digital technology. He added that this would involve promoting the expanded use of Web3 services that utilize the metaverse, and NFTs. 

Highlighting these efforts, Kishida referenced the “Summer Digiden Koshien 2022,” a competition held last month in which participants competed to solve local challenges using digital technology.

“Many people participated, and it was a tournament where you could feel the growing expectations for regional revitalization through digital utilization,” Kishida said.

Ultimately, seven local mayors were rewarded by the government with NFTs for competing with each other in an effort to realize the “Digital Garden City National Concept.”

New administration boosts crypto efforts

On assuming office in 2021, Kishida had made Web3 development one of the pillars of the country’s economic revitalization. In April, Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party published an NFT White Paper, outlining the country’s strategy for Web3.

In addition to including policy recommendations advancing a national strategy for Web3, the white paper also recognized the importance of utilizing the country’s distinct intellectual property, such as animation and video games, to spearhead its Web3 efforts.

Later, Kishida’s administration established a Web3 Policy Promotion Office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), in order to integrate Web3-related departments within the ministry.

The administration’s recent efforts at advancing its cryptocurrency-related goals even convinced Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to reattempt a market entry into the country, after failing to do so four years ago.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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