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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Japan's Hello Kitty cabs
A family using one of the special taxis
The taxis have proved popular with children
For fans of the cartoon character Hello Kitty, a Japanese taxi company is offering the purr-fect way to get around town.

Tokyo-based taxi firm Kanachu has commissioned 10 cars complete with Hello Kitty seats, blankets and umbrellas.

You can even blow your nose on a Hello Kitty tissue, and listen to Hello Kitty music through the taxi's special sound system.

Kanachu decided to add the cars to their fleet in order to target children, the firm's manager Katsuo Habu told the Associated Press news agency.

Kanachu licensed Hello Kitty from Sanrio, the character's creator.

"The Sanrio people told us they associated taxis with bearded, smoking male drivers," Mr Habu said.

"But we told them that we would have female drivers and the cars would be non-smoking."

One of the most popular features of the Hello Kitty cabs is that children are given a free Hello Kitty gift.

"We hope mothers use our service when small children cry because they have to go to hospital or kindergarten," Mr Habu said.

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12 May 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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