Kumamon mascot to visit France in July to lure visitors to Kumamoto

"Kumamon," the official black bear mascot representing Kumamoto Prefecture, will visit France in July to take part in the Japan Expo as part of efforts to lure visitors to the southwestern Japanese prefecture, local officials said Monday.

Kumamon, one of the most popular regional promotional mascots in Japan, will be making its European debut at the festival, which introduces Japanese culture and entertainment, scheduled for July 4-7 in the suburbs of Paris, the officials said.

The mascot is scheduled to dance to Kumamon songs on stage and help promote Kumamoto at a booth to be jointly operated by the Kumamoto prefectural and city governments, they said.

Kumamon has so far visited Asian countries such as China and South Korea.