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Nippon Tabako Sangyo K.K., JT for short, is Japan's biggest maker of cancer sticks. They employ nearly 16,000 people at 31 cigarette factories across Japan, and at their headquarters in Toranomon, Tokyo. Their many brands include Mild Seven, Seven Stars, Cabin, Peace, and Caster, which together make up 75% of all cigarettes sold in Japan (the #3 cigarette market in the world): they also sell RJR products such as Camel, Winston, and Salem to markets outside the United States from their international HQ in Geneva.

While they don't fund PSA's featuring people speaking through artificial larynxes, as their American counterparts do, JT does their part in making sure that smokers are properly educated. Their "Smokin' Clean" campaign is designed to get smokers to stop leaving their butts in the street, and to take advantage of public ashtrays.

They also—brace for EXTREME irony, folks—make pharmaceuticals. "By creating products to relieve people from diseases as rapidly as possible," their website says, "we aim to develop a pharmaceutical business that will have a good reputation around the world." JT makes the HIV medication Viracept, among others.

In addition to these businesses, JT is also a big food and drink manufacturer: they make Momo no Tennensui, one of the tastiest beverages available in Japan, and also sell Green Giant foodstuffs under a license bought from Asahi. Like many Japanese mega-corporations, they have sunk much of their capital into real estate projects as well.

The company was actually a parastatal until 1985, when it was privatized by the Nakasone government alongside JR and NTT. Go figure.


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