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Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013

Slogan 'Do you Kyoto?' stumps most in city of protocol

Staff writer

OSAKA — If you don't understand when someone asks "Do you Kyoto?" you are not alone, as a survey by the city of Kyoto about the official slogan to raise environmental awareness revealed almost 70 percent of respondents have never heard of it or don't know what it means.

In 2007, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Kyoto to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, she reportedly told Kyoto officials that people in Europe were saying "Do you Kyoto?" as a way to ask if they were doing anything good for the environment.

The question, with the Japanese equivalent of "Are you doing anything good for the environment often?" in parentheses underneath, became the slogan of a new municipal campaign to get people to think about reducing their carbon footprint through activities like turning off all outdoor lights and promoting more use of public transportation.

Restaurants were encouraged to serve their customers by candlelight and oil lamps. Character goods, T-shirts, tote bags and other items with "Do you Kyoto?" written on them appeared, and the city has designated the 16th day of every month "Do you Kyoto?" day.

But after nearly five years of use, a poll held last summer and released at the end of October showed 45.3 percent of 1,282 respondents had never heard of "Do you Kyoto?" while 24.3 percent had heard of it, but didn't understand it.

A city spokesman laid this to insufficient publicity but said the English phrase stands.

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