JAPAN: Big Crack in the Wall

U.S. businessmen eager to invest in Japan's dazzling economy have long complained that Japan, Inc. is a very closely held corporation. For example, individual foreigners are forbidden to own more than 10% of the stock in any Japanese company, and firms in no fewer than 704 separate industries, including everything from automobile manufacture to fruit-juice production cannot be more than 50% owned by non-Japanese. Last week the Foreign Investment Council, a key board of private businessmen and economists that advises the government, recommended cracking open this protectionist wall. The Tokyo government is expected to approve, and shortly after, with...

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