The Foreign Ministry will invite 10 overseas bloggers to northeastern Japan to write and report from areas stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The bloggers, who are expected to arrive in June at the earliest, follow 10 others who were invited last fiscal year as part of the ministry's efforts to dispel rumors about safety in the region and show the world that Japan is recovering from the March 11, 2011, disaster.
Among the bloggers invited in fiscal 2011 were Slim Amamou, one of Tunisia’s best-known bloggers, who was a key player in the Arab Spring movement, and Chinese children’s literature writer Zheng Yuanjie, who has about 2.5 million followers on the Chinese version of Twitter.
Amamou, the 34-year-old operator of an information technology company, who has 40,000 followers on Twitter, visited Miyagi Prefecture in late March.
During the Arab Spring uprising, Amamou used Twitter to criticize President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and was imprisoned. But after the ouster of the Ben Ali regime, Amamou served as the secretary of sport and youth affairs for the transitional government.
In Miyagi Prefecture, Amamou inspected a breakwater that was destroyed by the March 11 tsunami and visited temporary housing.
After he visited a strawberry farm in Watari in the prefecture, he wrote in his blog: “(The operator) is growing strawberries while living in temporary housing. I was struck by the family’s resilience. The strawberries were delicious.”
Amamou tweeted more than 100 times during his one-week stay in Japan.
Meanwhile, Zheng's messages from Tohoku on the Chinese version of Twitter drew more than 50,000 comments, mostly favorable, according to officials of the ministry’s Public Diplomacy Department.
Other bloggers also received favorable reactions.
Others who were invited for the project last fiscal year included Khaled Hamza, the editor of an Egyptian website that has 40,000 visits a day; Louisa Liu Chu, a U.S. blogger specializing in food who writes for the website of a popular radio station in Chicago; Patricio Navia, a Chilean scholar of international politics and economy who has 96,000 Twitter followers; and Rustem Adagamov, a Russian blogger and photographer, whose blog is read by 70,000 people.
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