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Rise of ethical investing prompts corporate soul-searching

ESG focus brings gains for Japanese names that make the grade -- and confusion for some that don't

A man looks up at an electronic ticker board in Tokyo on Monday.

TOKYO -- Companies are having to reckon how they stack up against an increasingly popular benchmark for investment: the environmental, social and governance criteria now applied to nearly 30% of global assets under management.

This worldwide trend in asset allocation has made for some head-scratching in corporate Japan and perhaps unpleasant surprises.

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