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Feline 'stationmaster' helps lift Christmas spirit at Wakayama train station

"Stationmaster" Nitama pushes a button to turn on the Christmas lights at Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, on Nov. 26, 2016. (Mainichi)

KINOKAWA, Wakayama -- Cat lovers gathered here on Nov. 26 at a local train station where a feline works as its "stationmaster" as a Christmas lighting ceremony was held with the four-legged furry Santa Claus to help lift the Christmas spirit.

    The Christmas lighting ceremony was held at Wakayama Electric Railway Kishi Station in the city of Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture. Nitama, the cat stationmaster, dressed in a Santa Claus costume, pushed a button to light up the station.

    Nitama's predecessor Tama, who died in June 2015, had been in charge of turning on the button at the annual Christmas lighting ceremony. This year, Nitama was responsible for the job, successfully turning on some 5,500 colorful LED light bulbs with her paw.

    Wakayama Electric Railway Co. board director Yoshiko Yamaki, who raised Nitama, said she hopes that people come and see the train station's Christmas decorations that use more lights than last year. The decorations are lit up between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. through Jan. 6 next year.

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