Self-Defense Forces office slips up with recruiting ad printed on toilet paper

by Shusuke Murai

Staff Writer

Self-Defense Forces recruiters are now the butt of jokes over a bizarre ad campaign the Defense Ministry apparently saw fit to roll out on toilet paper.

The rolls, bearing a cutesy SDF mascot and recruitment messages, were distributed to six public schools in Shiga Prefecture to encourage graduating youngsters to enlist.

“We are recruiting SDF officials!” the ad declares below a saluting raccoon dog standing at attention. Other details and a phone number for the SDF’s Shiga office are listed below.

But some smell a rat.

A Facebook user this week posted a photo of some of the toilet paper her daughter brought home from junior high school.

“It’s an outright insult to SDF members who are risking their lives. I am also greatly shocked that something like this could happen at schools,” the user said in reply to a comment on the post, shared more than 2,300 times as of Friday.

Other users were less delicate: “The SDF is not for wiping America’s butt in international conflict! It’s not something we should flush away,” one wrote.

The ad blitz was the work of the SDF Shiga Provincial Cooperation Office, an official there said Friday. He said the rolls were delivered to six schools in Takashima in late September during visits to teachers in charge of career counseling. They gave four to each school.

“We just wanted to make something people would find useful,” the official said when asked why toilet paper was chosen. He said it has been used widely at other events it organized and was not intended solely for children.

Given the stink, all rolls given to the schools had been recovered by Thursday, the official said.