Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/11/15

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Subject: OT Re: [Leica] The Japanese Economy
From: "Ken Iisaka" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 17:35:57 -0800

> You sound like a professor and someone who has only received the teachings
> of the standard propaganda heard in Colleges and Universities.  I have a
> good deal of experience in business dealings with Asia, especially Japan.
> It is not whining by American businesses, but in fact is a government
> control/restrictions imposed on businesses.  For example, there are 3 LD
> carriers in Japan, but the gov't only let's each undercut the main (NTT)
> a percetage and no more.  There is no negotiating with Japanese businesses
> for MNC sites as there is in other parts of Asia.
> So please, let me tell you first hand, wherever you are garnering your
> experience from is not a very good source.

I had never implied that there was no trade barrier.  In case of
telecommunication, NTT used to be a government agency, which was privatised
some 15 (?) years ago and the telecommunication market was opened for
competition.  Regulated market in Japan was not necessarily a barrier for
foreign concerns exclusively, however.  Are you aware of the government
policy which tried to shut down Honda, thus reducing the number of Japanese
automobile concerns to three, as were in the United States?  I have heard my
godfather who founded the company tell this story bitterly on numerous
occasions.  The wicked poison of the regulator worked not on foreign
competition, but on domestic concerns.  In the meanwhile, foreign concerns
such as McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Daimler-Benz established new markets
which they later dominate.

It is rather ironic now that one of the 3 LD carriers is now owned by Cable
& Wireless, a British concern.

Also, winners are silent.  I worked for a American multinational brokerage
firm which was hugely successful in Japan.  We certainly faced government
regulations determining what businesses we could operate and not.  However,
the biggest barrier we faced was our customer's acceptance of newcomers in a
country where businesses had relationships with each other for much, much
longer than we.  Any newcomers to a market will have to spend an enormous
amount of time to build relationship with clients, especially in old
countries like Japan.

Do trade barriers exist?  Yes, they exist all over the world.  However,
using it as a scapegoat is mere whining.