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Back in 2014, Sadanobu Takemasu was asked by his boss to go to Lawson, the convenience store chain known for its white milk can logo on a blue signboard.

Takemasu thought Ken Kobayashi, then president of Japan’s largest trading house, Mitsubishi Corp., was suggesting he go shop at a Lawson store in the basement of their Tokyo office building. Takemasu was perplexed. Kobayashi had other staff on hand to take care of such mundane errands.

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