'Unappealing' Ibaraki steps up PR campaign to boost survey ranking
Japan Times -- Nov 22
Ibaraki Prefecture is developing a series of new PR strategies after struggling for years to move up in a private think tank survey that ranks the appeal of all 47 prefectures.

Ibaraki has ranked lowest in the survey for six years in a row despite various attempts to improve, in a situation that alarms Ibaraki Prefectural Government. "We are afraid that everyone will think Ibaraki's appeal is the worst in the country if the situation doesn't improve," prefectural officials said.

"We are getting so much attention now as Ibaraki has been ranked at the bottom for six years in a row," Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa said jokingly to reporters at an Oct. 25 event celebrating the interior remodeling of a prefecture-themed satellite shop in Tokyo's Ginza district. The satellite shop, called "IBARAKI sense," is aimed at promoting regional goods to attract visitors to the prefecture.

But behind the joviality, prefectural officials are distressed. When the annual ranking was announced last month, they were again disappointed. "We honestly don't know what to do to move up the ranking," an official said.

Since 2009 the Brand Research Institute, Inc., a Tokyo-based think tank, has annually released an appeal ranking based on criteria such as each prefecture's degree of recognition and visitors' experiences.

In this year's ranking, Hokkaido was No. 1, earning 59.7 points, whereas Ibaraki only received 8 points. Apart from when it ranked second from last place in 2012, the prefecture has been at the bottom every year.

News source: Japan Times
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