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Clues in the poo: Japan's finance ministry turns to feces-themed tax drill to educate kids

Poo Tax Drill brochures are seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Nov. 5, 2021. (Mainichi/Yuki Machino)

TOKYO -- "What do doo doo and taxes have in common?"

    This is one unusual question that confronts anyone looking at a new brochure from the Japanese Finance Ministry's Tax Bureau, put out in collaboration with popular poo-themed study drill publisher Bunkyosha Co. to promote the bureau's "Unko Zeikin Drill" (Poop tax drill) for children.

    A ministry official said, "We hope the drills prompt elementary school students to take an early interest in taxes."

    The brochure content consists of five sets of questions and answers, starting with one about the consumption tax imposed when buying a snack. Copies of the brochure will be distributed to elementary schools across the country.

    The ministry also made an online game which begins with a conversation with "poop teacher." Through 10 random questions, children can learn about the roles of taxes. The game score depends on how quickly they answer questions and whether they used "clues" in addition to accuracy.

    The finance ministry's website has links to download the brochure and to the online game at: https://www.mof.go.jp/tax_policy/publication/brochure/zeisei0311.html (in Japanese).

    By the way, the correct answer to the question at the top of this article is "fertilizer," because "poo can be used as fertilizer to grow crops, and taxes are like a fertilizer to grow society." A ministry official said, "Of the five questions (on the brochure), we really poured out hearts into this one."

    (Japanese original by Yuki Machino, Business News Department)

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