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The government has decided to ease regulations on the installation of public pay phones as the widespread use of mobile phones has sharply reduced the need for the once-ubiquitous item.

The number of pay phones in Japan peaked at 935,000 in fiscal 1984, just before the establishment of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. through the privatization of its government-owned predecessor. The number has since continued to decrease, standing at 707,000 in fiscal 2000 and 151,000 in fiscal 2019. In less than 20 years, the number plunged about 80%.

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