Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sony and Toyota struggle but Tokyo Disneyland enjoys recession-proof boom

URAYASU, Japan - Sony and Toyota are struggling. Job cuts dominate the headlines. But one brand name is thriving in Japan amid the economic slowdown - Mickey Mouse.

According to the company that runs Tokyo Disneyland, Japan's busiest theme park will be more packed than ever over Christmas and New Year's. Despite the bad economy, it's already been a record year for an escape that's cheaper than the average night out in pricey Tokyo.

"Here, recession seems a world away," visitor Namie Katsunuma said as she munched on a bowl of caramel popcorn. "This is the only place where I can totally forget the economic worries and hardship of my life."

The single mother's salary at an auto dismantling factory was cut in November but, with her US$500 yearly pass in hand, she makes the almost 100-kilometre trek from her home to Tokyo Disneyland every couple of months.

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