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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 07:02 GMT
Japan unveils chocolate Beckham
A giant statue of England footballer David Beckham made entirely of chocolate has been unveiled in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.

Chocolate Beckham
'Tasty' Beckham's new incarnation
The three metre-high statue was created by confectionery manufacturer, Meiji Seika, as part of an advertising campaign for their new "Almond Choco" sweet.

Hundreds of avid fans turned up for the statue's unveiling, with one excited female fan admitting: "Yes, I want to eat Beckham!"

Advertisers hit upon the idea following the Beckham-mania which blossomed in Japan during the World Cup finals in June, which the country co-hosted.

While England were playing in Japan, screaming fans and autograph hunters greeted the Manchester United captain wherever he went.

Lucrative deals

Beckham and his wife, pop star Victoria Beckham, also recently appeared in a giant billboard campaign in the country for the Japanese beauty firm Tokyo Beauty Centre.

David Beckham with Japanese schoolchildren
Beckham has a huge fan base in Japan

They were reported to have received a fee worth some $3m for that contract.

A spokesman for Japanese advertising agency Hakuhodo, which is behind the campaign, said at the time: "We are very happy to have David and Victoria in the commercials because they have such a cool image and they are loved by the people of Japan."

The footballer already earns millions for a string of advertising deals involving sports gear, soft drinks, mobile phones and sunglasses.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Bob Berry
"In Japan, it looks like David's appeal is not melting away"
See also:

06 Nov 02 | England
04 Nov 02 | England
29 Aug 00 | Entertainment
04 Nov 02 | England
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