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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
I didn't know that even Reuters resorts to such juicy headlines now. :)

Japan's Shadow Economy Booms on Cheap Sex and Drugs

While the legitimate economy grew a slender 0.6 percent between 1996 and 2000, total revenue for yakuza -- much of it from narcotics trafficking -- increased 13.2 percent, says Takashi Kadokura, an economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute.

Illegal income generated by sex businesses alone rose 6.1 percent, he says.

In all, the shadow economy was worth 19.3 trillion yen ($160 billion) in the business year to March 31, 2001, or 3.8 percent of the legitimate economy. That's almost double the size of Ireland's economy.

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