Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba this week appointed AKB48 as goodwill ambassadors to promote Japan as a safe destination for Chinese to visit.
The appointment is part of the "Vibrant Japan" campaign which the foreign ministry has launched to not only lure tourists back to Japan but also assure them that the country's products are safe.
Rie Kitahara, 20, Yui Yokoyama, 19, and Tomomi Itano, 20, attended the launch event with Gemba. Itano said the girls will do their best to assure Chinese people that Japan is a great place to visit.
AKB48 has a huge following in China. The group will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong later this month and in March, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
At each venue, there will be an exhibition zone for prefectural governments, a Visit Japan booth, a Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Japanese Business Zone, a taste of Japanese Food Zone, a Performance Stage Zone. Each zone will promote a different aspect of "Vibrant Japan."© Japan Today