News from Asia and Pacific

IMF on the Move to Reach Out to Festival Goers in Tokyo

September 29, 2019, Tokyo – What does the IMF do and how does it help make the world better? To answer simple but important questions the public might have, its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP) joined the Global Festa Japan 2019 to showcase its core work through interactive, participatory games. Nearly 400 people took up the challenge of those games to learn about the role and mandate of the IMF.

The festival, considered one of the largest events on international affairs and cooperation in Japan, brought together more than 250 organizations – international organizations, NGOs, embassies, universities and Japanese government offices. They set up exhibition booths with goods, photos and poster panels to present their activities that help address global issues. Over the two days, the festival attracted more than 180,000 people from all walks of life.

OAP offered visitors an IMF Challenger Series with three different games – a currency matching game, an online quiz on the IMF and OAP, and an IMF data tool DataMapper trial – to win a gold, silver or bronze prize. While the currency game was a fun introductory activity to understand the role of currencies and the importance of a stable monetary system, the quiz served as a tool for visitors to learn more about the substance of the IMF’s work. The DataMapper trial also presented a chance to play with the IMF’s knowledge assets and find and view specific data on economic indicators such as GDP and unemployment rates.

Throughout the two days, families with young kids, student groups, the retired and foreign tourists stopped at the OAP booth to try out those games. Over 140 individuals played the currency game, 128 people tried the online quiz, and 110 enjoyed the data tool. A total of 379 people spent some time at the booth to learn about the work of the IMF. 

“I found it very interesting and very impressive. How can I access this tool at home?” asked a university student who tried out the DataMapper to compare GDP across three countries.

Many visitors who played the currency game said that they found the game eye-opening. “It was very interesting to know that each currency has its own unique image, effigy and story,” said one from a group of college students. A father with a small child said: “Every currency has a different value. I now have a better understanding of the importance of the IMF’s role in the international monetary system.”

During the festival, OAP distributed to festival goers 365 postcard style uchiwas with basic information on the IMF. Asian young financial officials studying in Japan through the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program (JISPA) also joined the festival to interact with festival goers at the OAP booth. OAP economists also answered questions from curious visitors on current economic issues and career development.

In addition, OAP Director Chikahisa Sumi appeared on stage with representatives of the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank to present information on the international financial institutions’ contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and introduced career opportunities at these institutions.

The festival was co-organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC). It was the festival’s 29th year. OAP started participating in the festival in 2006.