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Japan Tobacco Inc said on Tuesday it plans to launch a new “heat-not-burn” (HNB) product in Japan as early as the end of this year, as it tries to catch Philip Morris International in a growing cigarette-alternative category.

Japan Tobacco is under pressure to keep its dominance in the domestic market where its sales of conventional cigarettes fell to the lowest since the former state monopoly was reorganised to the current company in 1985. [...]