Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs has set aside $2.14m (Y250m) to back a series of measures aimed at supporting the Japanese film industry.

The money will principally be spent on four initiatives: financing the first feature film of two young directors who have won prizes at film festivals and contests; financing five films aimed at promoting regional localities; supporting the screening of up to fifteen feature and five short films at public halls and other non-commercial facilities; and providing funds for subtitles and screenings at foreign festivals.

In a related development, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation will launch a market for local live-action and animated films in co-operation with the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Scheduled to be held on Nov 5 and 6 at the Tokyo International Forum, the market hopes to attract product from both large and small film companies, with the main target being Asian buyers.

Japanese films, including animation, currently earn only 10 billion ($85 million) from overseas markets annually - one-ninth of what foreign films gross in Japan.