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With prices way up, Japanese buying fewer cars

Soaring costs over past decade put down to safety enhancements

Nissan released a remodeled Note hatchback in November.

TOKYO -- Prices for passenger cars are on the rise in Japan, mainly due to costly safety devises, such as automatic brakes, as well as batteries for hybrid cars.

Prices tend to go up when old models get updated. Nissan Motor partially remodeled its Note for the first time in four years; the small car was released last month. The Note X goes for 1.49 million yen ($12,921), up 15% from four years ago. The hybrid model is even more expensive, starting at 1.77 million yen.

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