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I've asked in several places and people have told me that, to get Cherie's story, I have to wait until the credits are over...
But I've done this. All that happens is: game goes to FIN screen, then saves clear data, then goes back to title screen. In Load is just my save file from before I fought the Ancient Weapon, nothing new. Choosing New just starts the game over.
Did a new option appear right under the load option? I remember in the import that a new option appeared. As you said, choosing new automatically restarts the game. But, if the English version is the same as the Japanese version, the new option should allow you to play as Cherie.