March 23, 2008

Resort area starts ads on toilet paper

SHIBUKAWA, Gunma -- Tourist resorts around Shibukawa's Ikaho Onsen hot springs will start advertising on toilet paper about the benefits of clean public restrooms, Gunma Prefectural Government officials said.

If the idea is a success, it could spread to tourist destinations across Japan.

"We want people to keep toilets clean, as well as their bottoms," said a spokesman for the Japan Toilet Association, which made the advertisement toilet paper.

The ads being run on the toilet paper include plugs for its stone step district and displays of the mark usually used to signify the presence of a hot spring bath.

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism came up with the idea of using revenue from ads on toilet paper to pay for the maintenance of public restrooms and promote cleanliness in public toilets in tourist areas. It commissioned the Japan Toilet Association to produce the ads.

Officials are using Ikaho Onsen as a test case, and if the ads prove effective they will be used at tourist areas across Japan. Gunma Prefecture has started a campaign to promote safe and clean public toilets with a system that will award clean public toilets with official recognition as such.