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Weekly updates

There are a lot of cute things that come out of Japan – pandas, Hello Kitty, everything in Harajuku – even their prisons. Well, actually, their prisons probably still remain as some of the toughest in the world, but one prison north of Tokyo is at least making an attempt to look cute with their newest employee: a wide-eyed, flower-haired mascot in a warden’s uniform by the name of Katakkuri-chan.

Asahikawa Prison enlisted to the adorable mascot in order to change the community’s perception of the facility, which wants to highlight its rehabilitative capacities, instead of just the whole incarceration vibe.

“Of course, prisons are for people who have committed crimes and people tend to consider them unwelcome in their neighbourhood,” a spokesperson said. “But society has to play its part in supporting the rehabilitation of people who have served their time.”

I’m not sure if it makes the town folk more accepting of reformed prisoners or if it makes jail look like one cheeseburger away from a McDonald’s birthday party but only time will tell. Maybe some hard time.