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Early this month, a 55-year-old manager at the failed Yamaichi Securities Co. had a job interview with Merrill Lynch, a major U.S. brokerage that has launched a new campaign to penetrate the Japanese market.

The interview session proceeded cordially, with the discussion focusing mainly on his family and housing conditions. Still, the broker is worried. “Even if I am hired (by Merrill Lynch), I have no idea what will happen to me,” he said.

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