Japan: $18 Million an Acre

Imperial Japan's ancient ideal was one family under one roof. Today's typical Japanese family still lives that way—but often the roof covers only a single room. More than three-fourths of Tokyo's private rental units are one-room warrens, and both the financial and the human costs are fearful. Almost once a week a Tokyo infant smothers to death in an overcrowded communal bed. A taxi driver recently nabbed by police for making love to his wife in the public plaza of the Imperial Palace was given a sympathetic release when he pleaded that he simply could not perform his husbandly...

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