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Crowdfunding helps Asians save favorite cafes and starving elephants

When Japan's tourist boom screeched to a halt, wagyu ranchers went online

After hotel demand for its high-grade wagyu beef dried up, the Hida Agricultural Cooperative Association crowdfunded $1 million in about two weeks. (Screenshot from Campfire website)

TOKYO -- Natsumi Geji missed going to her favorite Chinese tea shop in the city of Fukuoka, on Japan's southern main island of Kyushu, and was left to hope that it could stay in business with no customers, then reopen when Japan lifted its coronavirus emergency.

But the 30-year-old also made use of an online tool to do more than hope. She contributed 12,000 yen (a little more than $110) to a crowdfunding campaign launched by china cafe for coupons she can use later.

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