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In a move to secure a foothold in the Japanese market, cellphone operator Vodafone Group PLC of Britain said Wednesday that it has signed a contract to acquire 15 percent of Japan Telecom Co.’s outstanding stocks from two Japan Railway group firms.

The 249.2 billion yen deal will make Vodafone the second-largest shareholder of Japan Telecom along with British Telecommunications PLC and AT&T Corp. of the United States, each owning 15 percent.

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