TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Wednesday appointed Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, a member of Japanese pop group SMAP, as one of the official supporters for the Japan pavilion at the upcoming international exposition in Yeosu, southern South Korea.
In addition to Kusanagi, who is known for his expertise on South Korea, the ministry also named seven other supporters, including fish expert and TV personality Sakana-kun, who is a visiting associate professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, and Chin Jukan, a potter specializing in Satsuma ware.
Also chosen were "Kiccoro" and "Morizo," which were the official mascot characters of the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture.
The theme of the expo opening in May is "The Living Ocean and Coast." At the Japan pavilion, the ministry plans to showcase the country's work in conservation of marine resources and reconstruction from last year's March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
At an appointment ceremony in Tokyo, Kusanagi said, "After the great unprecedented disaster last year, people's perception that sea is scary may have increased...But the sea is still essential to our lives and we receive lots of gifts from it."
"I'd like to convey how Japan is hanging in (after the disaster) to the people of the world, as many as possible," as a supporter of the Japan pavilion, he said.
Industry minister Yukio Edano asked the supporters to convey the appeal of the Japan pavilion, while expressing hope that such efforts would contribute to the expo's success and help strengthen relations between Japan and South Korea.
Source: Mainichi Daily News