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Toyota’s projected record $18 billion windfall profit should put a smile on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s face. This was, after all, how his economic strategy was supposed to work — after two years of driving down the value of the yen and filling the coffers of the nation’s giant exporters, they in turn would give workers fat pay rises. Hello consumer spending, goodbye deflation.

Except Toyota isn’t sharing the spoils. Like most of Japan’s industry bosses, Akio Toyoda, the company president, is hoarding the cash. Abenomics may be great for corporate Japan, but most of the nation’s 127 million people are still waiting for any benefit. How to move the wealth along? Well, there’s someone traveling the country who might offer Abe’s team a clue: Thomas Piketty.

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