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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 09:48 GMT
Ad embarrassment for Japan star
Japanese actress Makiko Esumi has admitted that despite her earnest urgings in a government advertisement campaign that young people should pay pension contributions - she had been failing to do so herself.

Esumi was chosen last year as the public face for a TV commercial to encourage the self-employed to pay their public pension premiums.

But like many others of her generation, the 37-year-old actress was ignoring the advice.

"I thought I had been paying the premiums. I'm sorry," Japanese newspapers quoted Esumi as saying in a statement released by her agency.

She has now paid the due pension premiums in full.

"If you pay now you'll be paid later... Do you want to end up crying in the future?" Esumi said in the advertisement, which was broadcast almost 4,000 times last year.

Although the government spent $3.5m of tax payers' money on the commercial it appeared to be adopting a reasonable tolerant attitude to the actress's mistake.

"Although it's a serious matter it is quite funny," said Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yasuo Fukuda.


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