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East Japan police perturbed as 'not-for-sale' crime, traffic anime posters traded online

Hokuto Police Station posters and magazines featuring the popular multimedia series "Super Cub" are seen on a flea market app in this screengrab. (Mainichi)

KOFU -- Not-for-sale or free items including police crime and traffic safety posters and special free magazines, all featuring content from the locally-set multimedia series "Super Cub," have been found for sale on flea market apps for around 10,000 yen (some $90), police in the east Japan city of Hokuto have revealed.

    Yamanashi Prefectural Police's Hokuto Police Station reported that not-for-sale posters encouraging crime prevention and free local magazines with a feature on Super Cub were selling at high prices online. All the material was created without the intention of selling it, and parties involved with their production are perplexed by the situation.

    Super Cub, originally a series of light novels by Tone Koken, has also become popular as a broadcast TV anime. It portrays main character Koguma growing up and deepening her personal relationships through her rides on her Honda Motor Co. Super Cub motorcycle.

    In February 2021, the police station decided to use the series -- set in the area it has jurisdiction over -- for its awareness-raising activities. It announced it was working with the series' publisher to produce the posters.

    In the poster, Koguma is seen wearing an officer's uniform and standing in front of a police station building and patrol car. The copy reads, "Making a safe and secure city," and police distributed the posters for display at public facilities including the city government office, hospitals, schools and elsewhere.

    City of Nirasaki-based company Nanairo, which produces local news publications, releases Nanairo magazine every month. It focuses on local information, and is distributed free to homes and facilities in the Kyohoku region. The lead feature for its July edition was Super Cub, which it billed as the "story of a high school girl's adolescence in the city of Hokuto."

    On flea market apps, the Hokuto Police Station posters are selling for 9,999 yen (about $90) to 15,000 yen (some $136), while the July edition of Nanairo magazine is selling on a number of apps for 300 to 500 yen (about $3-$5). Some of the listings had already found buyers.

    In response to the situation, Hokuto Police Station expressed concern, stating, "We wish to confirm the facts of the case." A message was uploaded to Nanairo's official website, reading, "This is a freely distributed magazine, we have no involvement in the selling taking place."

    With back issues accessible for free on the magazine's website, the publishers wrote, "Rather than resorting to buying (the magazine), we encourage people to use the service."

    There have also been reports of large quantities of the magazines being taken from shops and other facilities. Speaking to the Mainichi Shimbun, an individual connected to the publishers said, "It's good that many people are reading and enjoying it, but taking many of the leaflets placed in facilities and other areas at once and selling them is a bit different to that."

    (Japanese original by Keisuke Umeda, Kofu Bureau)

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