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Asian Fusion — Japan Reconnecting With China and Hello Kitty

Japan and China reached a deal yesterday about long-disputed gas fields located in the East China Sea. The two countries will share the profitable gas fields; Japan's private sector will invest in Chinese development. Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda eloquently said: "We will turn it into a sea of peace and friendship."

The Chinese government is officially into the deal; a foreign ministry statement said it will help foster a "healthy and stable" relationship between the Asian neighbors. But in an unusual fashion, China allowed, and even helped, nationalist protesters to demonstrate against the deal.

In other Japanese news: Sanrio Co., the company behind Hello Kitty, plans to give the cat character a fresh dose of Japan-ness. The surrogate Japanese ambassador will now infiltrate Chinese markets, as well as markets in Russia, India, and America, in a more Japanese fashion — via electronics. The company will sell digital cameras shaped like Hello Kitty's face, kitty-clad USB memory cards, and a globular humidifier (I'll have to look that up) shaped like the cat.

Hello Kitty, who gets paid for her TV appearances, is a tourist attraction for Japan's visitors who stock up on everything Hello Kitty while in the country. Considering Japan's tourist ministry just appointed Hello Kitty to represent Japan in China, I wonder if the expressionless cat had anything to do with the gas field deal between the two countries!

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