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Over 20,000 apply to be Japanese billionaire’s girlfriend to moon

TOKYO: Applications to become Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa's girlfriend have passed 20,000, streaming service AbemaTV said yesterday, ahead of its documentary on his search for a "life partner" to take on his moon voyage.

Mr Maezawa, 44, who will be the first private passenger on Mr Elon Musk's SpaceX, has already generated huge social media buzz with a US$9 million (S$12 million) giveaway to his followers that secured his position as Japan's foremost Twitter celebrity.

The show's application site now includes a "love diagnostic test" where potential entrants can test their compatibility with the entrepreneur, who sold his online fashion business Zozo to SoftBank Group last year.

Multiple choice questions include: "If you rode in a private jet, where would you go?" and "If Maezawa farted in front of you, what would you say?", with users presented with a photo of Mr Maezawa varying from happy to sad depending on their score.

AbemaTV, backed by online ad agency CyberAgent and broadcaster TV Asahi, is one of Japan's foremost proponents of the reality dating show.

COUP

Securing Mr Maezawa for Full Moon Lovers is a coup for the service, which aims to generate social media traffic and is targeting younger viewers who are turning off TV.

Current and upcoming AbemaTV shows include one in which Japanese-speaking female contestants are paired with foreign men who do not speak their language and another in which women go on dates with "princes" several years their junior.

Worried about upsetting their regional TV networks by offering nationwide streaming services, Japanese broadcasters have been slow to offer streaming even as advertising spending shifts online. - REUTERS

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