‘Yes we Kan’ T-shirts a boost for Japan’s new PM

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, June 8, 2010 10:00 EDT
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TOKYO — As Japan’s new Prime Minister Naoto Kan took power Tuesday, he received an unexpected boost from online sales of T-shirts bearing his picture and the message “Yes we Kan”.

While Kan was being sworn in by Japan’s Emperor Akihito, Japanese retailer ClubT said it had sold more than 100 T-shirts online with the catch phrase, a reworking of US President Barack Obama’s election motto “Yes We Can”.

Meanwhile sales of shirts poking fun at his scholarly predecessor Yukio Hatoyama, who stepped down last week, were also surging as people snapped up memorabilia of the premier who carried the moniker “The Alien”.

A Washington Post columnist in April called Hatoyama hapless and “increasingly loopy” over his contradictory comments in a dispute over a US airbase that badly strained ties with Washington and finally led him to resign.

Hatoyama later conceded in parliament he may indeed be described as loopy, leading ClubT to print a T-shirt that read: “Self-professed loopy Hatoyama”.

“When Hatoyama went into office, his T-shirts didn’t sell but they soared after he resigned,” company executive Tomohiro Miyake told AFP.

“On the other hand Kan’s T-shirt is selling well on his inauguration. It’s a sign that the quality of the two leaders’ level of popularity is different.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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