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TOYOTA, Aichi Pref. — Even in its hometown, the great automaker has lost some of its mystique.

Rising out of the barren winter rice fields of Aichi Prefecture, this city of 400,000 is probably the most Toyota-friendly place on the planet. Renamed after the company 51 years ago, it hosts the corporate headquarters as well as enormous factories and is beholden to the automaker for tens of thousands of jobs and the bulk of its tax income.

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