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Tadashi Mukai, who outperformed all his hedge fund rivals in Japan last year, joined Tokyo-based Epic Partners Investments Co. and will start a new fund that won’t bet on stocks rising or falling.

Mukai, 43, joined Epic on Aug. 20 as a senior fund manager, said Tetsuya Abe, the firm’s head of compliance, in a telephone interview. Mukai was most recently at Tokyo-based fund adviser United Managers Japan Inc., overseeing the UMJ Neutro Fund, which climbed 11 percent, the biggest return among 13 market-neutral funds, in 2007, according to data compiled by AsiaHedge.

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