Nara to abolish usage fees for Sento-kun mascot
Jiji -- Jun 14
The Nara prefectural government said Wednesday that it will make the use of Sento-kun, the official mascot of the western Japan prefecture, free of charge from August.

The Nara government, which currently collects 3 pct fees from the use of the character, hopes that the charge-free measure will encourage many companies to use the Sento-kun character in their goods and services and, thus, promote the prefecture, known for a number of historical sites including World Heritage properties.

The prefectural government has seen royalties from the use of the character declining along with its popularity.

"We expect Sento-kun to become popular again and be used more widely," Nara Governor Shogo Arai told a press conference. "We wish recognition of our prefecture will rise."

Sento-kun, a Buddha boy with deer horns, was created in 2008 and attracted public attention as the mascot for a 2010 festival to mark the 1,300th year since the transfer of Japan's ancient capital to Nara. "Sento" means relocation of the capital.

News source: Jiji
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