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To get around the city, Yutaka Makino hops on his skateboard or takes the trains. Does he dream of the day when he owns his own car? Not a chance.

Like many Japanese of his generation, the 28-year-old musician and part-time maintenance worker says owning a car is more trouble than it’s worth, especially in a congested city where monthly parking runs as much as ¥30,000 ($330), and gas costs about ¥100 a liter (about $3.50 a gallon).

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