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Japan's optimistic millennials shed frugal habits and lift spending

Labor crunch and Abenomics change image of Asia's formerly-thriftiest cohort

Japanese women wearing kimonos take a 'selfie' after their Coming of Age Day celebration ceremony at an amusement park in Tokyo.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- For Japan's young people, among Asia's most cautious consumers for some years now, the pessimism that weighed on their spending is lifting in places as the country experiences its longest run of economic growth in decades.

In December, more than 600 young adults streamed into the Osaka branch of Kidzania, a theme park ordinarily reserved for children to dress up as firemen, doctors and chefs and test-drive future careers. This time, the unusual crowd was made up largely of millennials -- young Japanese in their twenties and early thirties -- who had paid about 5,000 yen ($45) for the chance to replay their childhood ambitions.

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