Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, 67, attended a ceremony in Kobe Harborland on Sunday held to unveil the Elvis Presley statue that sat outside the Love Me Tender store in Tokyo’s Harajuku since 1987, but was removed in January this year following the closure of the store.
Koizumi joined the crowd of about 1,000 Elvis Presley fans who braved the rain for the unveiling of the statue, which was originally paid for by the former prime minister along with contributions from several hundred other fans. Koizumi said that his love for Elvis was handy in diplomatic relations at times, and in the end seemingly outshone the statue amid the cries of “Jun-chan” that came from the crowd.
Kobe, known as the birthplace of jazz in Japan, was chosen as the new location for the statue after locals campaigned to have it brought to the port city. Harajuku was chosen for the first site in 1987 – 10 years after The King’s passing.
In 2001 BMG Japan released a special compilation CD with the former Japanese prime minister's favorite Elvis Presley hits.