) -- Wendy's is leaving Japan, ending a 29-year relationship with the country.


, which runs the fast-food chain in Japan, said it will end its contract with


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and close the 71 stores in Japan by the end of the year.

Zensho said it is planning on focusing on other businesses, such as its Sukiya beef bowl chain.

Wendy's entered Japan in 1980. In the year ended in March, the company reported about $70 million in sales in Japan.

The Japanese market has been dominated by rival

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, which holds about 65% of the market share in the country.

Burger King


has 16 locations in Japan. It, too, left the Asian nation in 2001, but returned to the market in 2007.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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