Business: Japan, Inc.: Winning the Most Important Battle

IN 1953, a young businessman named Akio Morita made his first trip outside Japan to investigate export prospects for his struggling little electronics company. He was dismayed to find that in the sophisticated markets of the U.S. and Europe, the words Made in Japan were a mocking phrase for shoddiness. But in The Netherlands, he recalls, "I saw an agricultural country with many windmills and many bicycles, and yet it was producing goods of excellent quality and had worldwide sales power. I thought that maybe we Japanese could do it too."

Indeed, they could. A month ago, Morita took off...

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