Currently All Japanese PMs are really into making a character of their town which promotes the town and bring tons of tourist. You might think it's not gonna work, but it is working pretty well in Japan.
These characters are called "yuru chara" which means a uncool character. "Hiko nyan"is the most successful one as he hosts the festival at his town.
Here is Hiko nyan. Lovely pose.
Then here's the festival video...