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Keeping an eye out: Pug dog made famous on TV drama to front Japan police campaign

Pug dog Taro Tanaka is seen at a ceremony to mark his appointment as the face of a campaign against traffic accidents and crimes, at the Okayama Prefectural Police's Akaiwa Police Station in Okayama's Higashi Ward on Nov. 25, 2020. (Mainichi/Kazuki Iwamoto)

OKAYAMA -- A pug known for his round eyes and featuring in a popular Japanese TV drama was commissioned on Nov. 25 to promote a campaign against traffic accidents and crimes that is run at the end of each year by a police station in this western Japan city.

    Okayama Prefectural Police's Akaiwa Police Station will create campaign posters featuring the 5-year-old male pug dog, named Taro Tanaka, who made his performing debut opposite actor Hiroshi Abe in the autumn 2019 drama "Mada Kekkon Dekinai Otoko," which roughly translates to "the man who still can't get married."

    On Nov. 25, police station head Yukiyoshi Misawa presented a letter of commission to Taro, who attended in uniform alongside his owner Keiko Tanaka, 41, a resident of Okayama's Higashi Ward. After the ceremony, he went on patrol at a nearby supermarket where he promoted traffic safety for customers and others.

    An officer working at the police station planned the commission after reading a newspaper article about Taro's success. Shinnosuke Enomoto, the police station's traffic department chief, said, "I hope that his well-known, round eyes will help make a persuasive case to prevent accidents and crimes."

    (Japanese original by Kazuki Iwamoto, Okayama Bureau)

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