Secondhand car dealerships, where people sell their cars and other goods to get rid of them, are booming in Japan.
The numbers are staggering, with about 40,000 sales per month and some 15,000 people employed, according to the Nikkei Shimbun newspaper.
They are also expanding fast.
In a recent survey, nearly half of Japanese adults said they had at least one secondhand car.
More than a third of the owners have been in the industry for more than a decade, and they are getting better at keeping the cars in good condition.
Even the old-fashioned old-school dealerships have changed.
A new kind of shop called a secondhand auto repair shop has opened in a residential neighborhood in Osaka.
“We are a small business, but we’re looking for a way to make a profit,” said the shop’s owner, who asked not to be identified.
We’re looking to sell cars that we’ve sold in the past, he said.
Secondhand car sellers have been able to attract customers because the car is in good shape, and their dealerships offer free repairs and roadside assistance.
I’ve always thought it’s a good thing for people to have a second home, said one man in his 40s, who declined to give his last name.
As Japan’s economy has recovered, people have started looking for better ways to save money, such as renting cars or paying for maintenance and repairs.
With more cars and more cars coming on the market, car dealers have been increasingly desperate to find a way around the regulations, such a rules prohibiting sales of new cars to non-residents.
One of the most controversial is the so-called “tourist tax” that imposes a fee on all new car sales, as well as a tax on the price of a new car that is not sold within two years.
Another issue is the “cancellation tax” on all sales of used cars.
The law requires owners of used vehicles to pay a fee of up to 20,000 yen ($220).
The Japanese government has been cracking down on the industry, cracking down more than 80,000 times in the first half of 2018.
But the industry is not the only thing that is booming.
The Nikkeis survey found that in the third quarter, the number of people working in secondhand autos rose by 6.7 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.
And while many car dealers are still struggling to stay afloat, they have been expanding rapidly.
Katsumi Takagi, a senior vice president at the Tokyo-based Mitsubishi automobile group, said that the Japanese economy is not suffering a recession, as many had feared.
Japanese car buyers are buying Japanese cars at the highest levels of the market in years, and that is going to be reflected in the secondhand industry, she said.
“We’ve been witnessing that the market is not shrinking and the market for used cars is expanding,” she said, “which is the reason why we’ve seen such a strong recovery.”