JAPAN: Red Swindle

Back in 1952, Shigeru Murai, a natty, smooth-talking member of a well-to-do Tokyo merchant family, joined the staff of the Nippon Textile Research Institute, a respected outfit set up by the textile industry to study market research and improve designs. Two years later, Shigeru Murai resigned and opened a new textile sales company just across the street from the institute in the heart of Tokyo's business district. Flashing the institute's name and his career there to get credit, the smiling and ever-courteous Murai bought large quantities of textile and paper supplies for wholesale distribution throughout Japan.

A year ago, unpaid...

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