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Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 13:52 UK

Japan group in 'love' cash ploy

Tokyo by night
Pay-by-the-hour hotels can be profitable in Japan

A Japanese religious group which runs a string of "love hotels" has been fined over its tax affairs, local media say.

The Cosmic Truth Society reportedly declared that millions of dollars in revenue from hire-by-the-hour hotels were paid out in charitable donations.

It says the money went to support underprivileged children.

But the tax authorities who have been investigating the case have ordered the group to pay a penalty of 300m yen ($3m, £1.8m).

The Cosmic Truth Society is reported to run more than 20 love hotels and motels.

Media reports say that over seven years it declared 1.4bn yen ($14m, £8.7m) as charitable donations, making the money tax-exempt.

The group - Uchu Shinri Gakkai in Japanese - is objecting to the penalty imposed, insisting the money went to help needy youngsters.

One hotel manager was quoted in the Japanese media as saying that the room rate was 5,500 yen ($55, £34) and that 2,000 yen of that was donated to charity.



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