Sales of Kumamon mascot products hit record Y128 bil after quake
Japan Today -- Feb 16
Products bearing the image of "Kumamon," the black bear mascot of quake-hit Kumamoto Prefecture, racked up sales of at least 128 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in 2016, the prefectural government said Wednesday.

The official mascot has been used to support reconstruction efforts in the southwestern prefecture following major earthquakes last April, encouraging consumers nationwide to buy agricultural goods and other products from Kumamoto, it said.

The figure was up around 30% from a year earlier when sales exceeded 100 billion for the first time, a record-high for Kumamon-related products.

"Kumamon is driving reconstruction. We will proceed together to achieve recovery," Kumamoto Gov Ikuo Kabashima told a press conference.

Japanese businesses can produce and sell products featuring the much-loved black bear mascot free of charge upon receiving approval from the prefectural government.

News source: Japan Today
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