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Given the Japanese propensity for dreaming up outrageous electronic gizmos and offering even the most unlikely appliances as products in the hope that perhaps one in 10 will prove a runaway commercial success, it is hard to believe that anything as straightforward as a microprocessor – controlled, credit card operated videotape vending machines isn’t a commonplace feature of Japanese street furniture – yet, reports the Financial Times, a fledgling Farnham, Surrey company, Fernplan Ltd, in business only a little over a year, has won a UKP25m order to ship 3,500 of its video vending machines to Otari Electric Co, Tokyo, between now and 1993.

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