• Kyodo

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A Fuji Television Network Inc. announcer was appointed Japan’s tourism ambassador for Thailand on Saturday after gaining fame as a good-looking foreign journalist while covering Bangkok’s political riots in 2014.

The Japan Tourism Agency appointed 29-year-old Daijiro Enami, who drew Thai media’s attention while covering the political turmoil in Thailand for Fuji TV, to be “Thailand Visit Japan Ambassador,” promoting tourism to increase the number of Thai visitors to Japan. The number has already improved since a Japanese visa exemption was introduced in July 2013.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number of Thai visitors to this country jumped from 260,640 in 2012 to 453,642 in 2013. Additionally, 657,570 Thai tourists visited Japan in 2014, ranking fifth after South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The rise in visitor numbers is expected to continue.

After becoming famous in Thailand, Enami found himself on numerous Thai TV programs covering his life in Japan, and was invited to join several Japanese tourism events in Thailand.

He also cohosts “Beauty Versus,” a variety show about Thai girls competing with Japanese girls over makeup, which is being broadcast on Channel 7 television in Thailand.

Enami, a native of Tokyo whose favorite Thai dish is “som tam” (Thai papaya salad without chili), said, “This is my sixth visit to Thailand and I am impressed with Thais’ fondness for Japanese culture.”

“As Japan’s tourism ambassador, I will try my best to promote Japan tourism and unseen destinations in Japan to Thai people such as Mount Takao in Tokyo where visitors can enjoy natural beauty.”

Enami said he will continue his journalism work in Japan while traveling back and forth between the two countries for the JNTO’s tourism promotion events.

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