Kitagawara is the President of Art Resources, Inc., a design company in Japan and is dispatched to Manila by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Center in time for the forthcoming Manila F.A.M.E. International, a bi-annual exhibition for the home and fashion lifestyle led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).
Kitagawara has provided technical assistance and projects for traditional handicrafts to a number of SMEs in other parts of Asia, including Thailand and Malaysia. He has been involved in major design projects in Japan including the “Anniversaire Omotesando,” one of the most fashionable complex buildings in Tokyo. He also did visual merchandising projects for Japanese department stores Isetan, Seibu to name a few.
This year, Manila F.A.M.E. International – to be held on 22-25 April 2010 at the World Trade Center, Manila – the country’s leading order-taking platform recognized by the Union des Foires Internationales, a Paris-based association of trade show organizers, will focus on Japan as its country market partner to link Filipino exporters and Japanese buyers.
Next to the United States, Japan is the second largest market of the Philippines. Industry reports say that as of November 2009, Philippine exports to Japan rose by 2.7% to US$597M, following the US as the Philippines’ next biggest export market. With the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) in place, Manila F.A.M.E. aims to attract more Japanese buyers into sourcing from the Philippines.
In its last edition, Manila F.A.M.E. attracted close to 2, 000 buyers from Japan, Germany, Australia, France, Spain, United Kingdom, and the US. Every year, close to 500 exporters exhibit in the show.