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The Defense Agency will start running a publicity ad Monday for the Maritime Self-Defense Force on video billboards featuring seven young dancers in sailor uniforms performing on the deck of a destroyer.

A Maritime Staff Office public relations officer said the pros and cons of the rather lighthearted production — a far cry from the MSDF’s sober image — were taken into account.

“We hope it will serve as a gateway for people to get to know the MSDF,” the officer said.

The 15-second ad will be shown 30 times a day on three video billboards in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, a youthful entertainment spot, through March 31.

The cost to make and run the ad is about 7.5 million yen.

In Japan’s mission to aid reconstruction work in Iraq, the MSDF is playing the rather low-key role of transporting equipment for the Ground Self-Defense Force, which has been in the spotlight for its central role in the actual ground mission.

According to the officer, the ad promotes “seaman ship” and the basic attitude required for sailors, and ends with the narration: “We love Japan. We love peace. The Maritime Self-Defense Force.”

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