Hello, China: Meet Japan's New Envoy

Japan tabs pop icon to bring in visitors from China
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2008 8:00 PM CDT
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba shakes hands with kimono-clad Hello Kitty as South Korean singer Younha looks on at his office in Tokyo Monday, May 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
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(Newser) – Hello Kitty has been tapped as Japan’s cultural envoy to China, the AP reports. Japan’s ministry of tourism chose the über-popular icon to represent the country in its drive to attract 10 million annual visitors to the islands. Last year, tourists from China and Hong Kong made up 16.5% of Japan's 8.35 million overseas visitors.