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TOKYO—The reclusive chief executive of Takata Corp., the Japanese maker of air bags linked to at least eight deaths world-wide, made a long-awaited public appearance on Thursday, saying the company was studying the possibility of a fund to compensate victims.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) this week called on the company to establish such a fund, raising pressure on Takata as it confronts the biggest automotive recall in U.S. history, affecting about 32 million vehicles. Kevin Kennedy, Takata’s North American…

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