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Japan: Vitalizing Theaters

(Sept. 10, 2012) Japan's Culture and Art Promotion Basic Law (Law No. 148 of 2001) was enacted in 2001. Since that time, although the government has made efforts over the years to build and maintain theaters and music halls, there has been no specific provision that promotes the role of theaters and music halls in the country’s cultural life. Recently, however, the authorities have stated that there is an urgent need to support the activities of performing artists and specialists who manage theaters and music hall businesses. In addition, the government has recognized that there is a lack of opportunities for people who do not live in big cities to attend performances by artists. To improve the situation, the Law on Vitalizing Theaters and Music Halls was enacted in June 2012.  (Law on Vitalizing Theaters and Music Halls, Law No. 49 of 2012 [in Japanese].)

The Law prescribes the roles of government, operators of theaters and music halls, and performance groups and obligates them to cooperate with each other. (<?Id. arts. 2-8.) The Law states that the national and local governments must try to implement measures to vitalize theaters and music halls, such as by providing financial support and special favorable tax treatment. (Id. art. 10.) Further, the Minister of Education may set guidelines for operators of theaters and music halls. (Id. art. 16.)

The Cultural Affairs Agency hosted public hearings regarding the contents of the guidelines in August 2012. (Press Release, Cultural Affairs Agency, “Gekijo_· ongakudo_ to_ no kasseika ni kansuru ho_ritsu ni motoduku shishin no sakusei ni kakawaru hiaringu” no jisshi ni tsuite [Regarding “Hearings on Drafting Guidelines Based on the Law on Vitalizing Theaters and Music Halls”] (Aug. 15, 2012).)