A Pound Of Flesh

It was glitz and glitter at the Tokyo Auto Show, but beneath the chrome and choreography there wasn't much to smile about, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen.

Nissan announced it's cutting 21,000 jobs, and other industries this week revealed proposals lay off 20,000 thousand more.

And if that isn't bad enough, there's a new darker side of Japan's recession coming to light.

A cash-strapped retired pensioner -- who wants his identity protected -- co-signed a friend's $20,000 loan. When the friend disappeared, the loan company called the pensioner, demanded repayment plus $40,000 interest and allegedly told him how to raise the money. He taped the conversation.

"You have two kidneys," says the debt collector. "A lot of our debtors only have one kidney. Why don't you sell one."

The pensioner is suing the loan company that harassed him with these kinds of demands.

"Why don't you sell one of your eyes," yells the debt collector. "You don't need two eyes." An eye, the debt collector claims, can fetch up to $10,000.

The loan company refused comment, but theirs is about the only business that's booming these days. And with more bad economic news ahead, more Japanese will learn that the loan shark who saves them one day may be back for blood the next.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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