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Japan's crowded steel industry flows toward realignment

All eyes turn to Nippon Steel's sprawling group as smaller players eye merger

Osaka Steel subsidiary Tokyo Kohtetsu operates this electric furnace, part of a packed Japanese steel industry.

TOKYO -- Consolidation talks by Japanese electric-furnace operators have focused attention on Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, whose many electric-furnace affiliates give the steel giant the potential to reshape a market that features dozens of rivals.

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