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Avon Global Ambassador Reese Witherspoon Visits Japan for First Time in Historic Role

Reese Witherspoon Participates in Traditional Tea Ceremony, Meets with Breast Cancer Survivors, and Introduces Women's Empowerment Bracelet in

Asia Strides Made To Reduce Violence Against Women, as Half a Million Bracelets

Sold in the United States

NEW YORK, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Avon Global Ambassador, Reese Witherspoon visited Japan to bring a message of empowerment and hope to the Asia Pacific region. Ms. Witherspoon was the guest of honor at a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony where she met female breast cancer survivors. In addition to the tea ceremony, Ms. Witherspoon met with Avon Representatives and introduced the region to Avon's first-ever global fundraising product, the Women's Empowerment Bracelet.

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In Tokyo, Ms. Witherspoon attended an intimate Tea Ceremony dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono, by a prominent kimono dresser, Midori Yogi. Ms. Yogi's family has dressed the Japanese Imperial Family for weddings since 1952.

The Tea Ceremony, which is a multi-faceted traditional activity designed to capture the spirit of healing the body, mind and soul, offered an open forum to discuss breast cancer issues and needs in Japan, which is a critical topic due to a high rate of breast cancer in the country and the Asia Pacific region. At the Tea Ceremony, Ms. Witherspoon met Dr. Matsuda, Chairman of the Japan Breast Cancer Association, and three Japanese breast cancer survivors, and talked with them about the lack of breast cancer awareness and screening facilities.

"As Avon's Global Ambassador, I'm honored to have this opportunity to meet with such extraordinary women, and experience a highlight of Japanese culture" said Ms. Witherspooon. "While their courage is inspiring, I was saddened to hear that only about 12% of women in Japan receive regular breast cancer screening. The lack of testing equipment and breast cancer experts in Japan means that many women here do not have access to the medical technology and care that is critical to diagnose and fight this deadly disease."

"Avon has been committed to supporting women all over the world for more than 120 years, and as the company for women, we truly believe that empowering women will change the world," said Geralyn Breig, Senior Vice President and Global Brand President of Avon Products, Inc. "Ms. Witherspoon has an incredible track record of giving back in both big and small ways and we are thrilled that she is in Japan lending her support to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer and domestic violence in her role as the company's first global ambassador."

Avon's global philanthropy has raised and awarded more that $525 million for breast cancer research and to ensure the best care and treatment for all breast cancer patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Avon is the largest corporate supporter of the fight against breast cancer in the world.

Avon Japan is committed to changing these statistics and creating greater awareness with an emphasis on the importance of early detection. Since the beginning of their breast cancer campaign in 2002, Avon has held some of the largest breast cancer awareness events in Japan as well as donated nearly $2 million for mammography screenings, equipment donation, research and care for survivors and their families.

While in Japan, Ms. Witherspoon also introduced Avon's first-ever global fundraising product, the Women's Empowerment Bracelet, designed to save and improve women's lives worldwide. The bracelet was first unveiled in the U.S. in March of this year at the second annual Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow, presented by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in partnership with Avon, at the United Nations in celebration of International Women's Day. Over half a million units of the Women's Empowerment Bracelet have already sold in the U.S.

The bracelet, which features a clasp in the shape of the infinity symbol to carry the message of the limitless possibilities for women, will now be sold by Avon Sales Representatives in Japan and will be also available in Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and India and sold in the more than 100 countries globally in which Avon operates. In support of this mission, proceeds from the Women's Empowerment Bracelet will go to a new endowment, the Avon Empowerment Fund, which will contribute to the UNIFEM-managed UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The first $500,000 from bracelet sales will be matched in 2008 by the Avon Foundation for a total donation of $1 million for new grants by the UN Trust Fund, representing the single-largest one-year corporate contribution to-date.

About Avon Products, Inc. and the Avon Foundation

Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with almost $10 billion in annual revenue. As the world's largest direct seller, Avon markets to women in more than 100 countries through 5.4 million independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon's product line includes beauty products, fashion jewelry and apparel, and features such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, Anew, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques, Avon Naturals, and Mark. Avon is also a leader in corporate responsibility and philanthropy. In addition to Avon's heritage of women's empowerment, the Avon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is the largest corporate foundation for women, with more than $580 million raised worldwide for breast cancer, domestic violence and emergency disaster relief. Learn more about Avon, its products and programs at


UNIFEM is the women's fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women's empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women's human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UNIFEM focuses its activities on reducing feminized poverty; ending violence against women; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls; and achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war. For more information, visit

About Reese Witherspoon as Avon's Global Ambassador

As Avon's Global Ambassador, Ms Witherspoon is Honorary Chairman of the Avon Foundation, focusing on breast cancer, domestic violence and emergency relief initiatives, and is also the spokeswoman for Avon's beauty brands and Sales Representatives. Today, she also highlighted critical concern for the plight and lack of support for women in the Asia region suffering from breast cancer.

SOURCE Avon Products, Inc.
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