June 13 - The Israeli embassy in Tokyo unveils a new mascot: a parrot holding an olive branch. Tara Cleary reports.
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Meet Shalo-um chan, the olive branch-bearing parrot.
The cuddly bird is the new mascot for Israel's embassy in Japan.
Ambassador Nissim Ben Shitrit hopes that Shalo-um chan will project a mellower image to his Japanese hosts.
SOUNDBITE: Nissim Ben Shitrit, Israel's Ambassador to Japan, saying (English):
"As you see this character is very round and soft. Israelis are not that soft, but we are trying to improve our image to make it softer."
The winning design was chosen from around 500 entrants and Yuko Ozawa won a free trip to Israel for her efforts.
SOUNDBITE: Yuko Ozawa, student and designer of Shalo-um chan, saying (Japanese):
"It represents peace. So there's this olive branch that represents peace and then there's the Star of David on its head, so it's sort of working as a goodwill ambassador for peace."
And it's certainly the bounciest ambassador around.
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