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Hidden beneath its streets, Japan’s aging sewer pipes spotlight a challenge that has held back reforms Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to revitalize the world’s third-biggest economy.

Overhauling the country’s infrastructure — roads, tunnels, ports and sewage plants, many of them built after the 1970s when the construction boom started — is a looming burden on the government, whose deficit has already swollen to more than twice its GDP.

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