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With Walmart deal, Rakuten gains launchpad for online grocery business

E-commerce group sees real-world stores as key to countering Amazon in Japan

Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, second from left, with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, second from right.

TOKYO -- Rakuten's new grocery delivery partnership with Walmart aims to cultivate one of the least-developed segments of Japan's e-commerce market, blending the strengths of online and physical retailing to cut costs and ensure freshness.

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