25 February 2012
AKB48 Becomes Spokesperson for Suicide Prevention Month
On February 22nd, the Japanese Government has asked AKB48 to step in and become the Spokesperson for Suicide Prevention, citing their "widespread influence over many demographic groups". They will start appearing in news and commercials soon.
Earlier this month, the Japanese Government created "GKB47", an anti-suicide program. It was highly critzied by both the public and fellow members of the government, and over 70 civilian groups because of it's similarity to AKB48. A member of the DPJ called it "deeply inappropriate".
"GKB47" stands for GateKeeper Basic 47. "Gatekeepers" in Japan are people who can recognize symptoms of depression in others and can recommend treatment to them. "Basic" is used to show the simplicity of the program, and finally the number "47" is the number of prefectures in Japan.
Now the Japanese Government decided to scrap the "GKB47" Suicide Prevention Program, citing criticism from civilian organizations as well as the ineffectiveness of the program, and have turned to AKB48 instead of just copying their name.