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Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son ranked as Japan’s third-largest individual taxpayer in 2000, up from 16th in 1999, the National Tax Administration said Wednesday in an annual report listing the top 100 taxpayers.

Son, known at home and abroad as a leader in the Internet business world, paid about 1.56 billion yen in income tax in 2000, just behind the 1.89 billion yen paid by Hiroshi Mikitani, president of Internet shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc., the report says.

Masahito Otsuka, a former adviser to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and its group firms who died last year at age 83, was the top individual taxpayer, shelling out some 4.16 billion yen.

The report shows 49 of Japan’s top 100 taxpayers last year earned income through stock transactions, with 10 taking large profits from a stock option scheme that allows employees to exercise an option to buy shares in their company at a predetermined price.

The 10 relate to foreign firms operating in Japan.

The number of those on the list earning income by stock transactions was down by two from 51 in 1999, the largest since the administration began releasing the amount of tax paid by the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers in the current format in 1983.

The prevalence of stock income reflects the popularity in high-tech and Internet-related shares caused by development of information technology, tax administration officials said.

However, the number of those making profits through land transactions remained unchanged from a year earlier at eight. The figure has been falling since the burst of the asset-inflated bubble economy in the early 1990s.

Seven representatives of Otsuka and its group companies made the top 100 taxpayers’ list, with Otsuka Chemical Co. Chairman Isao Otsuka ranked sixth with 1.13 billion yen and Earth Chemical Co. Chairman Masatomi Otsuka seventh with 1.13 billion yen.

Tadashi Yanai, president of Fast Retailing Co., which runs the highly popular Uniqlo clothing store chain, made his debut on the list at 31st, with 561.32 million yen.

A total of 524 tax offices across the country on Wednesday made public the names of all taxpayers who filed final tax returns and paid more than 10 million yen in income tax for 2000.

According to the tax administration, about 7.3 million people filed final tax returns with tax authorities in 2000.

Of them, about 80,000 had their income disclosed by the tax administration as a result of paying more than 10 million yen in income tax, up by nearly 5,000 from a year earlier.

The number of people who paid more than 300 million yen in income tax totaled 104, up from 71 the previous year.

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