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10,000 free flights to Japan may be up for grabs

The Tokyo Tower is seen behind cherry blossom

The Tokyo Tower is seen behind cherry blossom in full bloom in downtown Tokyo on March 28, 2010. Japan's meteorological agency announced that cherry trees bloomed in Tokyo area, six days earlier than previous years. Credit: Getty Images

In the wake of the tsunami and nuclear disasters in Japan last March, and the economic turmoil the country has experienced since (tourism, for one, is down by about a third and presumably still dropping), Japan's tourism agency  has proposed giving away 10,000 free airline flights to foreigners wishing to visit.

Recipients would have to agree to write about their trips online, which we assume is the tourism agency's way of getting positive PR that would generate interest in Japan and jump-start the industry.

To that end, the country already enlisted celebrities all over the world to talk up its safety. Lady Gaga famously made a statement back in June urging her fans to visit the hurting country, saying, "I can't say enough to people all over the world that the majority of Japan right now, Japan in general, is very safe ... It's fine to come here. It's beautiful."

There's no indication, however, of whether her statement was prompted by Japan or its tourism agency, or if she acted independently.

According to a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday, the program, if approved, would begin in April and cost Japan $14.3 million.

Stay tuned.


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