Japan: Grudging Go-Ahead

Western businessmen trying to set up subsidiaries in Japan are sometimes reminded of the welcome that Commodore Perry got there in 1853. "Our policy," whispered one wary Japanese at the time, "shall be to evade any definite answer to their requests, while at the same time maintaining a peaceful demeanor." For years, the U.S. and other nations have urged Japan to relax restrictions on foreign investments; for years, the Japanese demurred on grounds that their struggling industries would fall to outside control.

Now, however, Western capital has got a grudging go-ahead. The Japanese government has adopted a program of...

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