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Run numbers were introduced on 31 October 1939 as part of the modernisation of the work system. The very first run number system, developed on 31 October 1939, called Narakawa Run Number, was introduced in Pennsylvania in the USA to connect broomstick flying services to other parts of the USA, and also to Japan. However, it only contained three numbers (the first digit was either a number, C, S or an X). The name 'Narakawa Run Number' is not used in languages other than Japanese or anywhere outside Japan. Instead, it is called in USA as 'Narakawa's Number' and in the Commonwealth as 'Narakawa Headcode' or 'Narakawa Code'.

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