Closed-Door Policy

In Tokyo last week the government's powerful Foreign Investment Council met in the Bank of Japan's oak-paneled conference room to screen foreign investment proposals. Before it were 70 applications, most of them from U.S. corporations who wished to invest an estimated $34 million in Japan. When the meeting adjourned two hours later, a spokesman declared: "In due time the companies involved will be informed of any progress."

None of the applicants expected any "progress." Since Jan. 1 the council has not approved a single major U.S. proposal to invest in...

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