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Japan's toilet seats a hit among Chinese

Chinese shoppers line up at the duty-free counter at Takashimaya's Shinjuku department store in Tokyo on Feb. 18.

TOKYO -- Toilet seats with warm water washing systems were popular among Chinese who visited Japan during China's weeklong Lunar New Year holidays last month.

     According to Chinese media, some 450,000 Chinese traveled to Japan during the period and spent about 6 billion yuan ($956 million).

     Japan's Hottolink Consulting analyzed some 265,000 comments posted to Chinese social networks Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and WeChat between Feb. 18 and 24.

     Heated toilet seats with warm water washing systems were ranked third in the list of most purchased items by Chinese. The seats are also sold in China. But many seem to be more comfortable buying Japanese products because the nation's market for the toilet systems is well established.

     One commenter praised the seat: "My parents are old, so it's wonderful that the seat is heated." The seats also seem to be popular as status symbols.

     During holiday season, some Chinese tourists visited a home electronics retailer in Tokyo and went straight to the hot toilet seat section to check if there were any left.

     Topping the list was pharmaceutical products, which Chinese people think are safe and reasonably priced. "I want to buy this entire drug store," one comment read. "There are so many things I want to buy. Where are these drugs so cheap?"

     Another commented, "I bought 20 boxes of headache medicine for stockpiling!"

     Cosmetic products were the second most popular items bought by Chinese shoppers. "Japan is a paradise of cosmetics," one social media user wrote. "It's nice that whatever I buy is appreciated as souvenirs." Another wrote, "I bought four fat-burning creams. They are usually three times more expensive in China."

     Rice cookers, eye drops, disposable diapers and supplements were also bought by many Chinese tourists to Japan.

     One comment says, "I can buy whatever precious metals and paintings I want with the yen being so weak. There is not enough time. I want to visit more shops."

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