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Lady Gaga in Tokyo to help boost tourism

By Nicolas Ito, CNN
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Lady Gaga boosts Japanese tourism
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Japan's tourism numbers have steadily declined since the earthquake and tsunami
  • I want to "scream at the top of my lungs that everyone should come visit this beautiful place," Lady Gaga says
  • The singer is also in the area for the MTV Video Music Awards Japan

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japan's sagging tourism industry couldn't have asked for a better ambassador than one of the world's biggest entertainment stars, Lady Gaga.

Wearing an aquamarine wig but an otherwise demure black outfit, the pop sensation held a news conference with Japan's tourism agency commissioner and the U.S. ambassador to Japan. The group urged tourists to return to Japan.

"I would like to use my position here today and all week long to run around Tokyo enjoy the beautiful city and kiss all the beautiful little monsters and scream at the top of my lungs that everyone should come visit this beautiful place," said Lady Gaga, before a crowd of Japanese and international cameras and reporters.

Japan's tourism has been hammered by the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, tourism began to plunge on March 12th. Tourism fell 73% as compared to March 2010.

I am always so inspired when I come to Japan, inspired by the spirit, the passion, the love, the absolutely infectious joy of Tokyo.
--Lady Gaga.
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In April, tourism dropped 62.5% as compared to April the year before. In May, the tourism organization reported tourism was still down 50.4% as compared to May 2010.

U.S. ambassador to Japan, John Roos, appeared gaga over Lady Gaga, beaming as he stood by her side. The ambassador, who has personally championed the return of tourists to Japan, said the singer will help spread this message around the world.

"This morning I had breakfast with some think tank experts, U.S.-Japan experts, who said to me, Mr. Ambassador, 'What can we do in order to strengthen the strategic, economic and people to people relations between Japan and the United States?' And I had one answer, Lady Gaga," said Roos.

Lady Gaga is in Japan for the MTV Video Music Awards Japan. This year, MTV renamed the awards ceremony, Video Music Aid Japan. The awards show is on Saturday and will be broadcast live to an estimated 30 million households in Japan, Korea, Singapore and China.

Award winners are determined by fans. For each fan vote, says MTV, 10 yen, or approximately 12 U.S. cents, will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross.

Lady Gaga, who has raised money for Japanese relief efforts as well as donating more than a million dollars personally, says she hopes the island nation will recover from the historic disaster.

"I am always so inspired when I come to Japan, inspired by the spirit, the passion, the love, the absolutely infectious joy of Tokyo," she said.

 
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