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Popular Akita dog Wasao was formally appointed by the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan as a special ambassador for World Heritage-related activities at a ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday.

The ceremony for Wasao, a big white furry Akita with squint eyes known as “busa (ugly) kawa (cute)” was held at a Tokyo cinema where the movie “Wasao” which features the dog was screened at a preview.

Noboru Noguchi, director general of the federation, told the ceremony, “We hope (Wasao) will be more active as a special ambassador who can promote the connection between people and nature, as well as the importance of life.”

He handed a letter of appointment to the dog’s caretaker, Setsuko Kikuya, who lives in the town of Ajigasawa, Aomori Prefecture.

“Wasao is really a lucky guy. He is grateful to everyone,” Kikuya said.

The movie, based on Wasao’s own past, opens at theaters nationwide on March 5.

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