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Japan Inc. heads for record dividends topping $100bn

Narrow range of payout ratios reflects lack of direction among corporations

Sony is among many Japanese businesses paying more in dividends, but the rise reflects better earnings more than changes in policy.

TOKYO -- Japan's listed companies look set to collectively raise annual dividend payments this fiscal year by 7% to an all-time high, but are largely huddling around the same relatively low payout ratio as they waffle over how to spend record earnings.

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