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The majority of counterfeit products detected by Japan Customs in 2008 came from China, the Finance Ministry said Friday, pointing out its neighbor as nearly the sole provider of bogus items here, accounting for 81.5 percent.

Japan’s nine customs houses handled 26,415 cases of fake imported goods in 2008, up 16.6 percent from a year earlier and the seventh consecutive new record. Cases linked to China, excluding Hong Kong, grew 33.6 percent from the previous year to 21,529.

Items originating in South Korea came second at 3,287, or 12.4 percent of the total.

But compared with 2004, the number of counterfeit items from China expanded about sixfold in 2008.

A ministry official said the number of bogus goods imported from China and South Korea was about the same until 2006, when shipments from South Korea plunged after customs authorities there tightened controls.

The value of the goods seized, if calculated in real prices, totaled about ¥20.6 billion, down sharply from ¥38.5 billion in 2007, as imports of fake luxury bags dropped while cases of small-lot shipments by mail grew, the ministry said.

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