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Japan's Foreign Ministry uses 'Golgo 13' manga to advise firms on virus prevention abroad

A scene from the "Golgo 13" expanded safety manual for small- and medium-sized businesses created by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (C) Takao Saito

TOKYO -- Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced March 23 it will release an expanded, coronavirus-relevant edition of its manual for medium- and small-sized Japanese businesses abroad, using the manga "Golgo 13" to communicate its ideas.

    The manga was originally adapted by the ministry in 2017 as part of its response to a 2016 terrorist attack in Bangladesh that took the lives of seven Japanese nationals. The updated version will include information on how to prevent infection from the coronavirus, and some 150,000 copies are expected to be distributed.

    To try to clearly communicate advice to business owners and managers, who tend to be of a generation that enjoys Golgo 13 -- a long-running series following the exploits of professional assassin Duke Togo -- the ministry took the original manga's cells and changed the dialogue.

    The comic begins with Foreign Minister Takakura, who resembles real incumbent Toshimitsu Motegi, entrusting Togo with a mission. Togo then travels to numerous small- and medium-sized Japanese firms across Asia, Europe and elsewhere to explain the importance of them registering with and engaging in data collection for the ministry's Tabireji service. Tabireji distributes safety information online to Japanese businesses.

    The newly added story takes place in a fictional country where the spread of the coronavirus has led to poor counterterrorism measures. Company employees of Japanese nationality get caught up in a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist attack, and Togo entreats the company president to implement top-down safety measures.

    At a press conference, Motegi said, "In addition to the terrorism threat, risk management has become more complicated due to infection prevention measures. I want businesses to use it (the manual) to consider their safety measures."

    In addition to companies, the manga will be distributed to airport counters, passport facilities in Japan's prefectures and other places, as well as being published on the ministry's website.

    (Japanese original by Ryuko Tadokoro, Political News Department)

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