The impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake on international transportation, tourism and logistics seems to persist. The travel restrictions put in place by many countries led to Japan's tourism industry facing harsher conditions than ever before. People in the industry are making strenuous efforts to publicize the safety of Japan as a travel destination through travel agencies and media in those countries and via the Internet, and by inviting overseas tourists to popular sightseeing spots in Japan. However, these event-centric activities are likely to come to an end after only a short while. Rather, we need to ensure the continuity of these activities by establishing medium- to long-term programs.
To quickly and efficiently recover the transport network that was severely affected by this massive earthquake, programs that use wide-area transport infrastructure are essential. These programs should encompass infrastructure for all means of transportation, i.e., land, sea and air routes, and should be established in association with industrial recovery programs.
Exports from Japan are still facing a very difficult situation with, for example, consignees refusing to accept goods without a certificate stating that they are free of radioactive contamination. Furthermore, several countries have begun to request the issuance of official inspection certificates stating that goods have been checked and found to be radiation free. In the short term, we will be able to meet the requests of these countries by issuing certificates. However, from the medium- to long-term perspective, we need to implement more drastic measures such as using IT (information technology) to promote the visibility of logistics and creating a system capable of automatically issuing the necessary certificates.
If top priority is to be given to the earliest possible recovery of international transportation, tourism and logistics, we should invite both domestic and overseas private-sector companies to make the best use of PPP (Public Private Partnership) schemes. Through taking bold action towards deregulation, we need to introduce a program that uses both overseas funding and private-sector funds.