On the second floor of a 2 230-square metre used-goods superstore in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, Koji Onazawa pauses beside some old Japanese surfboards. He has spent nearly two decades at Bookoff - a corporate legend in Japan that is barely known outside it, with its 832 second-hand shops across the country. Now he is running Jalan Jalan Japan, the company's first true foray into selling more than just used books abroad. "We're not a representative of Bookoff here," he said. "We're a representative of Japanese second-hand goods." He is not being melodramatic. According to data supplied by the Japan Reuse Business Journal, more than two dozen Japanese companies have set up at least 62 shops or distributorships selling second-hand Japanese goods in eight Southeast-Asian countries in recent years. Bookoff plans to open four more superstores in Malaysia alone in the next three years. Those stores receive much of the nearly $1-billion (about R13.5-billion) in used goods that Japanese c...

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