Japan: Bigger Is Better

Japanese business, long dominated by a handful of family cartels and other industrial combines called zaibatsu, used to use size as a measure of success. The bigger the better. When U.S. occupation authorities took over after World War II, one of their first acts was to break up the zaibatsu, notably the monopolistic Japan Steel Co. The surge of domestic competition that followed stimulated the country's phenomenal recovery. Now Japan is discovering another result: a need to rebuild some of the old industrial concentration.

Last week, encouraged by the government, the two offspring...

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