Japanese PM stars in Y2K commercial

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TOKYO--In a rare appearance for a Japanese prime minister in a public service ad campaign, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi is asking his countrymen to be ready for any Y2K-related problems

The public service ads, launched by the prime minister's office, advise people to keep essentials, such as water, flashlights, radios and batteries, on hand over the New Year holiday in case of any Y2K computer glitches. In other messages during the past two months, the Japanese government has reminded residents that there may be a stoppage in some utilities because of the Y2K bug and recommended stockpiling a few emergency items.

TV spots featuring the prime minister have been airing on Japanese national network TV since Dec. 19 and will run through the end of the year. Print ads also are part of the campaign.

"Prime Minister Obuchi does not appear in that many public service advertising campaigns, but he felt that he should take the lead in getting people prepared for any year 2000 problems," a spokesman for the prime minister's office said.

The campaign was produced by Nikkeisha Inc.

Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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