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After Mercari, where are Japan's unicorns?

Japan, unlike US and China, lacks many IPO-ready startups

The Mercari app allows users to easily buy and sell products online.

TOKYO -- Flea market app operator Mercari's plan to go public is giving a breath of fresh air to Japan's stock market, but what could become the country's largest IPO for the year also highlights the lack of promising startups to follow in its steps.

Many blue chips languished Monday amid continuing political turmoil in both Japan and the U.S. But investor enthusiasm was palpable on Tokyo's Mothers market for startups. United, a mobile advertising company listed gained as much as 13% to a high of more than three and a half years. It closed the session down slightly at 3,055 yen following a rush to lock in profits, but still came second in trading value for the day across Japan's two startup-focused markets.

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