MoneyGram plans to connect the Filipino community in Japan with family and friends in the Philippines through a new location in Roppongi, Japan.

MoneyGram ambassador and superstar Robin Padilla spent two days in Japan last week to promote the company's launch of "Welcome Home Kabayan" to introduce Filipino residents to the new service.

Padilla is best known in the Philippines as a popular matinee idol, film director and martial artist.

It is not the first time a high-profile Filipino has supported a payment mechanism to help people who have moved abroad manage their money or get it back to family members. Boxing champion and politician Manny Pacquiao put his name behind a prepaid card for Filipinos living in the U.S. in 2011.

"I believe that my endorsement is a great opportunity to strengthen MoneyGram's brand among the millions of Filipinos living and working overseas," Padilla said in Sept. 19 press release. "Thanks to MoneyGram, all Filipino residents in Japan can now enjoy fast, easy and reliable money transfer services to help support their families and friends back home or in any other country where MoneyGram services are provided."

During the campaign, which will run until the end of December, MoneyGram customers will have a chance to win an airline ticket back to the Philipines for the New Year season.

"Today, we have also launched our 'Making the Difference' campaign which highlights the value and sacrifice of OFW [overseas Filipino workers] families," Yogesh Sangle, head of Asia Pacific at MoneyGram, said in the release. "We understand the challenges and emotional stress that are a daily reality not only for Filipinos abroad, but also for their loved ones who are home in the Philippines."

The funds that overseas workers send back home can help to "fulfill dreams and truly make a difference," Sangle added.

According to the World Bank, an estimated $9 billion in remittances flowed out of Japan in 2015 with key corridors being China ($4.2 billion), Korea ($1.7 billion) and the Philippines ($1 billion).

To meet the growing demand for reliable money transfer services, MoneyGram says it has recently expanded its network in Japan with locations providing greater coverage of key areas, including Tokyo, Saitama, Ibaraki and Tochigi.

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