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"Water, water everywhere and every drop to drink." Not quite what Coleridge had in mind when he wrote the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner but thanks to the Japanese it is now true.A new craze is sweeping faddish Japan that extols the virtue of deep-sea water in both soft drinks and cosmetic products.Ako Kasei has reported strong sales of its Umi no Shinsousui Amami no Mizu product, which is made from seawater with the salt extracted. And, the company is now planning to introduce it at kiosks and convenience stores. This means Umi will go head to head with the giant US soft drink brands as well as local soft drink makers in their biggest selling retail locations.The water is taken from the Cape of Muroto where the seabed drops off sharply allowing access to the mineral-rich water of the deep ocean.It is believed that water from below 200m under the surface contains more minerals than other bottled waters, including minerals that increase the body's retention of liquids.Ako Kasei says its consumers are middle-aged and are drinking this specialty-bottled water because of health concerns. The company is currently producing 600,000 bottles a month.Dydo Drinco joined the market in May with MIU, a flavoured water drink. It claims that the reason the body is better at retaining deep-sea water is that its "osmotic" pressure more closely resembles that of the body's fluids.The cosmetics companies use the deep-sea water as a body and hair moisturizers and demand is strongest among 20-something women.Dave Robertson


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