TOKYO — Arab Spring democracy activists and a Chinese children's author are among an eclectic group of bloggers invited to Japan in a cyber-charm offensive to woo back tourists after last year's disasters.
The idea is the latest bid by Tokyo to repair a reputation that was badly hit by the quake and tsunami disasters in March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima.
The bloggers were chosen on the basis of their online popularity and include Khaled Hamza, who edits the Muslim Brotherhood website in Egypt, and Tunisian pro-democracy activist Slim Amamou, Tokyo's foreign ministry said Wednesday.
Zheng Yuanjie, who writes books for China's children and has 2.5 million followers on the Chinese version of Twitter, was also invited, a foreign ministry official said.
"We are trying to convince foreign tourists to come back to Japan and trade partners to resume imports of Japanese food by showing influential bloggers that Japan is safe," the official said.
"We have invited foreign journalists from major newspapers and broadcasters, but these bloggers have direct channels to the audience, to whom established media do not necessarily appeal."
Japan's diplomatic missions research the scale of nominees' cyber-audience before offering them a one-week trip to Japan, the official said.
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