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While tattoos have long been associated with the underworld, especially large elaborate motifs depicting dragons and other mythical creatures, more discreet designs have become fashionable among the young in recent years.

But Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s crackdown in May on tattooed municipal employees could be also helping to prompt many young job seekers to flock to cosmetic surgeons to have their body art removed, in fear the private sector may soon follow suit, even though removal is neither an easy nor a cheap process.

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