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The quiet king of Japanese shipbuilding expands its empire

Family-held Imabari Shipbuilding eclipses rivals Mitsui and Mitsubishi

Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan's biggest shipbuilder, is led by the tight-knit Higaki family.

TOKYO -- It buys more steel than any other Japanese company except Toyota Motor, and its shipbuilding dominance is such that rivals Mistui and Mitsubishi group are now turning to it for help.

Yet the inner workings of Imabari Shipbuilding -- a family-controlled company with a history going back over a hundred years -- remain murky.

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