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Friday, 27th June 2008
In General Japan News,

Japanese mobile phone firm pulls 'Obama monkey' ad

A mobile phone company in Japan has pulled a TV advert after it was accused of being racially derogatory reference to US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The advert for eMobile featured the firm's mascot, a monkey, addressing a political rally whilst surrounded by signs featuring the word 'Change'.

Sachio Semmoto, chief executive of eMobile, said the ad was promptly pulled once it was realised that some offence could be caused.

"There are some African-Americans in Japan, so we decided to take prompt action and shut down the ad," he commented.

Monkeys are a common feature of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan, reports The Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, for example, includes a famous 17th century carving of three wise monkeys.

Recently, a Georgia bar owner caused controversy by selling T-shirts featuring the cartoon monkey Curious George and bearing the slogan 'Obama in 08'.