Western Japan City Sacks Otter as Tourism Ambassador


Kochi, Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)--The city government of Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, has sacked an otter named Chiitan as tourism ambassador, apparently because of extreme online videos featuring a namesake "yurukyara" mascot.

The Susaki government dismissed the otter Thursday because it cannot confirm substantial promotional activities involving the animal, appointed local tourism ambassador last year, officials have said.

The videos in question included a clip in which the mascot, created by a Tokyo-based entertainment office and modeled after the otter, wielded a weed cutter. The otter character called itself Susaki tourism ambassador.

The Susaki government has received over 100 complaints since February last year. One said the character's behavior was dangerous, while another asked whether videos of the mascot were made under instructions from the city.

"We sometimes warned against dangerous acts but we generally kept silent, hoping for positive effects on our promotional efforts," a Susaki official said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press