Singer tapped for S. Korea expo slot


The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Wednesday appointed Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, of pop group SMAP, as an official supporter for the Japanese pavilion at an upcoming international exposition in Yeosu, South Korea.

In addition to Kusanagi, who is known for his expertise on South Korean issues, the ministry also named seven other supporters, including fish expert and TV celebrity Sakana-kun, who is a visiting associate professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, and Chin Jukan, a potter specializing in Satsuma wares.

Also chosen were “Kiccoro” and “Morizo,” which were the official mascot characters of the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi Prefecture.

The theme of the expo opening in May is “The Living Ocean and Coast.” At the Japan pavilion, the ministry plans to showcase the country’s work in the conservation of marine resources and reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“After the great unprecedented disaster last year, people’s perception that the sea is scary may have increased. . . . But the sea is still essential to our lives and we receive lots of gifts from it,” Kusanagi said at an appointment ceremony in Tokyo.