In Japan, Soft Drinks to Cure Any Ailment

Among an aging population that has lost interest in sweet, fizzy drinks, healthy tonics have become an elixir for Japanese beverage makers

Kozo Toyoda, a 55-year-old yakitori restaurant owner in Tokyo's Koto ward, says he hopes he can shed a few pounds by drinking a diet-assisting tea. He's certainly no health freak. Overweight, he admits to drinking large amounts of beer and doesn't have the time to do more exercise. But after quitting smoking, he now plans to use the extra cash to buy tea drinks that can aid in weight loss. "I'm thinking of trying some of the ones endorsed by the government," he says. At $1.70, one bottle of Suntory's Kuro Oolong-cha tea is a little more than half the price of a pack of cigarettes.

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