No Yen? No Problem!

Recession-ravaged residents of this tiny hot-springs town found a way to improve their standard of living. Stuck with low-paying and seasonal tourism-related jobs, Yufuin's citizens solved a chronic yen-flow problem by boosting the local monetary supply: they print their own currency.

In Yufuin you can get a taxi ride, buy a bottle of sake, eat lunch, book a train ticket and supplement your wardrobe using a self-generated scrip the townspeople call yufu. "The yen isn't very stable anyway, is it?" says Ryuji Urata, a 38-year-old liquor-store owner who came up with the scheme two years ago....

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