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Despite a possible outbreak of a new strain of influenza that may kill more people than SARS did in 2002, only a few Japanese firms operating overseas have drawn up plans to deal with an epidemic.

“The risk the world’s top managers are most concerned with is the outbreak of a new strain of influenza,” Atsunori Yamada, a consultant for cosmetics maker Shiseido Co., said at a crisis-management seminar held in Tokyo in early February.

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