TOKYO, June 3 (AFP)

About half of Japan's supposedly reserved men have paid for sex, a survey said Wednesday.

Forty-six percent of 2,500 men questioned admitted having paid for sex, said the joint private-state survey. Of those admitting to paying for sex, 70 percent said they visited brothels in Japan and 24 percent did so either overseas or on business trips, it said. Fifty-five percent of the men who confessed said they would rather keep their partners in the dark while 24 percent did not mind telling them.

The survey was carried out by the forum on women and prostitution, a group formed by lawyers and Tokyo residents, and the Tokyo metropolitan government-backed Tokyo Women's Foundation.

While Japan has a reputation as a reserved nation, almost anything goes in the realm of sex. Pornographic magazines are sold in convenience stores and some schoolgirls top up their pocket money by joining telephone "dating clubs" for older men.