Amongst the many amusing facts in this story:
The mascot industrial complex is so huge in Japan that the Finance
Ministry launched a campaign last year to cut the number of mascots to
save unnecessary spending.
There are no official figures, but
Masafumi Hagiwara, a researcher at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and
Consulting, estimates that there are about 4,000 local
government-related mascots in Japan. The prefecture of Osaka alone had
about 92 mascots, but it gave pink slips to 20 of them during the
Finance Ministry’s campaign.
An additional 6,000 characters are probably at central government agencies, companies and other organizations, Hagiwara said.
That makes “mascot” a viable career choice in Japan. The day rate for a mascot is about $100.