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Japan pref. to use comedy duo's prize money donation for EV as emergency power source

An image of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and equipment to be purchased by the Tochigi Prefectural Government using money donated by comedy duo U-ji Koji are seen at the prefectural headquarters in Utsunomiya on June 28, 2022. (Mainichi/Kodai Tamai)

UTSUNOMIYA -- A Japanese comedy duo has donated money they won on a quiz show to their home prefecture of Tochigi, which will use the funds to purchase an electric vehicle and other equipment that can be used in emergencies.

    Tochigi Gov. Tomikazu Fukuda revealed the plan during a regular press conference on June 28. Comedy duo U-ji Koji won 3 million yen (about $22,000) after answering all questions correctly on a variety game show aired in May, with quizzes based on grade school textbooks. They have donated the entire amount to Tochigi Prefecture. Following the pair's request to have the money used toward disaster countermeasures, the prefectural government decided to buy a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle for around 3.3 million yen, and external power supply equipment totaling some 800,000 yen. The prefecture will apply for a national government subsidy to cover the extra costs.

    Electric vehicles can be used as a power source by connecting them to external power supply equipment. Prefectural officials envision the Leaf as a "moving battery" for shelters and other places in the event of a disaster. The vehicle is set to be delivered in February next year.

    Gov. Fukuda commented, "I appreciate the duo's thoughtfulness for their hometown from the bottom of my heart. I sincerely wish for their further success as representatives of Tochigi Prefecture."

    (Japanese original by Kodai Tamai, Utsunomiya Bureau)

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