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President of Japan's Corona Corp. places newspaper ad to encourage workers, their kin

Part of an ad message carried in The Niigata Nippo local daily in which Corona Corp. President Kazuyoshi Kobayashi addressed its employees and their families, is seen in this photo provided by the Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture-based company.

NIIGATA -- The president of a heating equipment manufacturer in central Japan took to newspaper advertising to encourage its employees and their families amid concerns they may face distress over the company's name -- Corona Corp.

Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, head of the company based in Sanjo in the central Japan prefecture of Niigata put the message in The Niigata Nippo local daily on June 13. The ad is intended to cheer on concerned parties as the firm's workers and their families are reportedly troubled over the corporate name that can be associated with the coronavirus.

Titled, "To you who have families working for Corona Corp.," the message reads, "If you are feeling uncomfortable because your family member works for Corona Corp., I'm sorry." The message, written in Japanese hiragana and katakana phonetic characters as if it is addressing young children, also states, "We are proud of our (company) name, Corona, and our work" and "Your family member you are proud of is our proud employee at Corona," encouraging children to take pride in their parents working for the firm. The ad also shows sympathy for hardships endured in their daily lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the company, it has so far received no complaints in connection with its name or had any other trouble. The firm has withheld the details of situations faced by its employees and their families for privacy reasons. However, it decided to deliver the ad message because staff members and their families are reportedly depressed by being reminded of the company's name whenever the coronavirus is discussed in the media and at school on a daily basis. The corporation is also sending out a letter containing the same message to its 2,300-strong staff.

Established in Sanjo in 1937, the firm renamed itself Corona Corp. in 1992 from Uchida Seisakusho. The naming derives from its brand name "Corona," which was inspired by the blue flame of a kerosene cooking stove and the solar corona. The company posted 78.7 billion yen (about $735 million) in consolidated net sales for the business term that ended in March 2020.

(Japanese original by Hiroki Masuda, Niigata Bureau)

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