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City to Develop Traditional Handicrafts Targeting Foreign Visitors
To help further promote Fukuoka's traditional handicrafts, Fukuoka City will begin a new project to develop Hakata-ori textile products and Hakata Dolls targeted at foreign visitors. The number of foreign visitors coming to Japan via Fukuoka Airport and the Port of Hakata continues to rise, reaching a record-high 2.57 million in 2016. After peaking in the late 1970s, sales of Hakata-ori textiles and Hakata Dolls have fallen off. Under this new project, the City will survey foreign visitors to see what designs they prefer and to consider optimal price points. Ultimately, it hopes to boost the sales of traditional handicrafts by developing products aimed specifically at foreign visitors.

Okinoshima and Related Assets Recognized as World Heritage Sites
The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The UNESCO advisory committee had previously decided to exclude four out of eight locations in the area from the list. But consideration of the region's long history of interaction with East Asia, and the archaeological importance of many locally excavated items, brought about a change of heart resulting in recognition for the entire group of sites. Okinoshima's historical ruins and the insight they provide into ancient rituals were acknowledged, as was Munakata Taisha's religious significance. This news means there are now 21 World Heritage Sites in Japan (17 cultural heritage and four natural heritage sites).

Mobike (China) Establish Presence in Japan
Mobike, a Chinese start-up that develops bike sharing services, has established Mobike Japan, a Japanese branch of their business, in Fukuoka. Having started out in several locations including Shanghai last spring, the company has since expanded to Singapore and is now operating in over 100 cities, primarily in mainland China. Users can locate bicycles around the city simply by reading the QR code attached to company-owned bicycles with a smartphone app. The company is hoping to roll out their business to other locations in Japan in the future.

Fukuoka City Develops Largest Wireless Communication Network in Japan
Fukuoka City is utilizing the latest technology available to establish a wireless network called "LoRaWAN" by the end of September this year. Compared to existing technologies, the capacity for communication is relatively small, but it allows for low cost, energy efficient correspondence over long distances. The area of coverage is expected to be one of the largest in the country. Fukuoka City is currently looking for businesses to participate in trial runs, encouraging them to develop devices and software that use the communications network.

Fukuoka City Startup Cafe Helps 100th Company Get Started
The Fukuoka City Startup Cafe has helped 100 companies get off the ground since it opened in October 2014. By sector, the overwhelming majority of the companies have been IT and content companies, followed by health, medicine, and welfare companies, companies in the service industry, and import-export trade and distribution companies. The first foreign startup the Café succeeded in attracting to Fukuoka was software developer Green Sports Jacket Co. from Taiwan in 2013. Its primary product is Golface,, a mobile app that provides golfers with course tips and lets them track their scores on smartphones and tablets while they play. It holds a 50% share of the Taiwan market for golf score tracking apps, and Fukuoka is its first hub outside of Taiwan.

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