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Even before the magnitude-nine earthquake and tsunami hammered Japan’s northeastern coast, the country’s economy had seen better days. Now weeks after the disaster, the idled factories, dead workers, delayed deliveries, fuel shortages and rolling blackouts pose a huge challenge for “Japan Inc”.

Few businesses have emerged unscathed. Tokyo Shoko Research estimates that more than 70 per cent of Japan’s 1,597 publicly listed companies were affected by the quake, tsunami, or nuclear crisis.

When car parts suppliers’ factories went down, most of the…


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