SHIZUOKA -- "Wan-bassador" local pet dogs who will encourage residents to answer the upcoming national census online are set to be appointed in plans by the municipal government in this central Japan city.
The city of Shizuoka will recruit 100 dogs in total, in recognition that of the 100th anniversary since the census's commencement. Pet dogs registered with the city that have been vaccinated for rabies can apply to be a "wan-bassador" (a play on the words "ambassador" and "wan-wan," the Japanese onomatopoeia for a dog's bark). Specially prepared scarves will be distributed to the appointed dogs, and the pet ambassadors will then help promote online responses to the census by wearing them as they take their walks. A representative of the municipal government said, "We would like to carry out promotions in a way that fits in with daily life."
The national census is conducted once every five years by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry Statistics Bureau in accordance with the Statistics Act. The census is targeted at all households in Japan and asks the names, gender, working status, and other information of household members. The collected data is used in policy measures taken by the national and local governments, as well as by private firms, research institutes and other bodies. This year's census will begin collecting paper-based responses on Oct. 1, and online responses from Sept. 14.
Online responses are being encouraged for this year's census as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. For more inquiries, please contact the planning division of the Shizuoka Municipal Government at 054-221-1024 (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Wakako Ootani, Shizuoka Bureau)