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Hello Kitty demonstrates social distancing at Japan rail station

A floor decal in the JR Kokura Station building featuring Hello Kitty and Kitakyushu's municipal mascots lets visitors know they should keep at least 2 meters apart, in Kitakyushu's Kokurakita Ward in April 2020. (Mainichi/Eijiro Matsuda)

KITAKYUSHU -- Hello Kitty and a couple of local friends from this southwestern Japan city are letting visitors to the JR Kokura Station building know exactly how far apart they should be to help prevent novel coronavirus transmissions.

The iconic kitty character is featured on a round floor decal along with the municipal mascots, Teitan and Black Teitan, each with exactly 2 meters between them. Hello Kitty is used in Kitakyushu's tourism promotion initiatives, while the Teitans stump for environmental protection.

The city also put up Hello Kitty panels at its headquarters and the local ward offices indicating exactly how long 2 meters is. An official in charge said, "We hope people will look at the illustrations to confirm how far apart (they are from others) when they really have to go out."

(Japanese original by Eijiro Matsuda, Kyushu News Department)

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