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A rare price hike by a Japanese brewer has intensified a debate over whether local firms are finally shunning their decades-old deflationary mindset in a bid to protect profit margins.

Shares of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. jumped as much as 7% last Wednesday after the company said it would raise prices for its Super Dry beer and other beverages for the first time in years. Convenience-store operator Lawson Inc. last month said it would increase rates for its popular “Kara-age Kun” fried chicken for the first time in 36 years.

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