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As global headwinds blow, Japan's conglomerates think local

Spotlight turns to foreign markets with strong internal demand

Inside Indonesia's 1 Station, a tire retailer affiliated with Japan's Marubeni.

TOKYO -- For Japanese trading houses such as Marubeni, diving deep into growing markets overseas is quickly becoming a critical skill, needed to keep earnings on a steady climb even as political shifts threaten to upend global strategies.

At Indonesian tire chain 1 Station, appealing to local patrons has been a key challenge over the past few years. When Marubeni took a stake in PT Trans Oto Internasional, 1 Station's operator, in 2014, the chain's eight locations were far from inviting. Floors were stained with oil and littered with cigarette butts.

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