Japan: Steeling for Competition

Although it exports its products with ever-increasing enthusiasm, Japan has maintained a closed-door policy toward imports and foreign investments. It has been under heavy pressure from its trading partners in recent years to ease its rigid protectionism. Still, the Japanese are cautious; if they must open their economy to big foreign investment, they want no corporate giants from abroad to take over too much.

To minimize the risk, Premier Sato's government has been urging Japanese businesses to grow stronger by merging. In notable response last week, Japan's two leading steel producers, Yawata and Fuji Iron & Steel, joined forces to...

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