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Okinawans strike it rich in annual year-end lottery

Date Posted: 2002-01-10

A record number of seven winning tickets for major prizes in the Japanese year-end 笛umbo Takarakuji・lottery were sold in Okinawa, according to official results announced on Tuesday. Two of the tickets were for the highest prize of ・200 million each, and five were for ・100 million each. The lottery itself was held on Dec. 31. In Japan, Takarakuji is a public lottery with money as its prize, resembling lotteries or sweepstakes in other countries. Local self-governing bodies that take the proceeds as a source of revenue issue Takarakuji tickets. The practice began in the Edo period (1603-1867) as a lottery conducted to provide for reconstruction and repair of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The first government-organized Takarakuji ticket was sold for ・10 in 1945. The prize money was ・100,000 and other winnings included items such as cloth and cigarettes. The prize money is exempt from income tax, and its popularity is so high that tickets are often sold on a reservation basis.

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