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New top cat for Japanese train station

Wednesday August 26th 2015

A railway mourning the loss of the world's only feline stationmaster has come up with the purr-fect replacement - another pet cat.

Tortoiseshell Tama died in June, having hit the headlines around the world when she was officially appointed to her role at Kishi station in Kinokawa, Japan, in 2007.

In accordance with the Shinto religion Mitsunobu Kojima, president of Wakayama Electric Railway, was reluctant to appoint a successor until the traditional 50-day mourning period was over.

But now that it has he has announced that Tama's former understudy, Nitama, will take on the job, which involves greeting passengers and comes with a uniform cap and supply of cat food.

Five-year-old Nitama, who is also known as Tama II, got the job ahead of several other feline hopefuls and having brushed up her skills at Cat Stationmaster Training School.

A decade ago the rural railway line was close to closure but saw its fortunes soar after former stray Tama was given the job of stationmaster, a move which triggered a huge boost to tourist numbers and sales of merchandise.

Copyright Press Association 2015