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Japan Inc.’s $104 Billion Investor Payout Set to Surge

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Japan’s companies, long known for stinginess with shareholders, doled out record amounts of cash to investors in the last year. It’s just the start of the payouts.

Dividends and buybacks soared 76 percent to 12.8 trillion yen ($104 billion) in the 12 months ended in March, according to Nomura Holdings Inc., which projects the returns will keep rising. In an example that would have been inconceivable in years past, the secretive robot-maker Fanuc Corp. was prodded by American activist Daniel Loeb into doubling the percentage of profit it would return to shareholders.