Taipei mayor reverses decision to feature Japanese porn star on transport cards

Taipei mayor reverses decision to feature Japanese porn star on transport cards
PHOTO: Reuters, Internet screengrab

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday abruptly reversed remarks he made earlier on EasyCard Corp.'s decision to feature a popular Japanese adult film actress on a limited-edition series of covers originally scheduled to be sold today.

In a reversal, Ko said that the controversial limited-edition card covers "Angles and Demons" featuring Yui Hatano should not be printed or sold publicly. He also said he does not find it "appropriate" for orders to be processed online. The mayor made the announcement while inspecting the city's efforts to improve traffic conditions in Zhongzheng District's Xinying Borough.

He indicated that during a meeting with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Councillor Rosalia Wu and other members of the party's city caucus, Wu reminded Ko that since the city government is the largest shareholder in EasyCard, the mayor indeed had to make the city's position clear. He later told reporters that it was an error in judgment to take "private things" and sell them in the "public realm."

"If you want to buy tapes and bring them home to watch, that is your own call. But it is not right for (EasyCard) to do this, so this situation was wrong," Ko said.

Ko said that he regretted not having made his position clearer, citing his limited knowledge on such matters. After calling his deputy mayors and EasyCard co-Chairman Tai Chi-chuan to a meeting with the city council members, Ko told Tai that the decision to print the cards "was wrong, the cards should not be printed and future actions like this must not be made." Ko said he had no intention of asking Tai to resign as company co-chairman.

Last Friday, Ko attempted to sidestep the controversy, arguing that it was up to EasyCard's chairman and board of directors to make a decision regarding the case. However, 15 DPP councillors signed a petition calling for a decision to halt the card cover sales.

Accepting Telephone Pre-orders 9/1: EasyCard

Seeming to contradict Ko's recommendation, EasyCard issued a press statement indicating that the 30,000 (15,000 sets of two) original "Angel and Demon" card covers would be available for pre-orders starting at midnight, Sept. 1. The company also issued an apology for the controversy surrounding the sales.

After reports last week indicated that the "Angel"-themed cards were identical to a video cover for an adult movie Hatano from in 2014, EasyCard said it would redesign and reissue the cards. The company announced that although designs for the reissued "Angel" card covers are complete, it will only sell the cards via telephone.

Taiwan's four major convenience stores have balked at selling the controversial cards.


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