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The Japanese soft drink market will probably be worth 4.92 trillion yen in 2003, down 200 million yen from the previous year, a private research firm said Monday.

While the market for a new type of drink featuring amino acid is expanding rapidly, the overall market is expected to shrink as demand for sugar-free tea drinks, which recently has been the driving force, is leveling off, Fuji Keizai Co. said.

The market for sugar-free tea drinks is almost saturated with products, it said.

The size of the amino acid drink market is will probably reach 75.6 billion yen in 2003, marking an 18-fold jump from 1999. The sugar-free tea drink market will likely total 746.1 billion yen, up 22.9 percent from 1999, it said.

The market for sports drinks is still growing steadily and is expected to reach 373.5 billion yen in 2003, up 36.3 percent from 1999, it said.

The market for mineral water will come to 153.3 billion yen, up 33.3 percent from 1999, it said.

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