TOKYO – A major milestone passed last autumn with little fanfare: Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Japan’s first tire maker, turned 100. The company, originally known as Dunlop Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co., began production of bicycle and rickshaw tires in 1909 at a small factory in the port city of Kobe. In its heyday, the plant, which survived Allied bombing during World War II, would produce a full lineup of car, truck and motorcycle tires, along with ...

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