A Japanese prison housing a range of convicted criminals has unveiled a cuddly life-size mascot in hopes it will change the lockup's foreboding image.
Officials say Asahikawa Prison in Japan's far north is too often thought of as a dark place with imposing grey walls and not as a place where rehabilitation gives prisoners another chance at life.
They hope "Katakkuri-chan", a 6 foot 6 inch humanoid with a huge square face and an enormous purple flower for hair, will make people understand the true nature of the institution.
A prison spokesperson said the goal is to make the prison seem "open to society."
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