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Activist investor Daniel Loeb is proving determination can pay off, even in Japan.

After failing to win major changes from Sony Corp., he picked an even more unlikely target in Fanuc Corp. It was a surprise then on Monday when the secretive industrial-robot maker agreed to return more cash to shareholders, just as Loeb had requested. It is an example of how global investors are starting to get more of Japan Inc.’s $1.9 trillion cash hoard.

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