• Kyodo News

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Nozomi Ohashi, the child singer in the animated hit “Gake no Ue no Ponyo” (“Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea”), was named an “ambassador” last weekend for the two giant pandas that arrived at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo from China last month.

“I love pandas because they are very cute. Please everybody, come see them,” the 11-year-old singer said at an event at the zoo on Feb. 26, five days after their arrival.

Zoo director Teruyuki Komiya said the pandas, a pair of 5-year-olds on lease from China, are healthy and will be shown to the public starting in late March. Their arrival brought pandas back to Ueno Zoo for the first time since popular giant panda Ling Ling died in April 2008.

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