Bankruptcy: Going Bust, Japanese-Style

American businessmen sometimes think of Japan as the cradle of modern manufacturing innovation and efficiency, but competition in Japan is keen and failure is common. Last week Japan's Riccar went bankrupt the old-fashioned way. They earned it. This was the fourth-largest bankruptcy in Japan since World War II.

Once the leading manufacturer of sewing machines in Japan, Riccar was slow to modernize and diversify when the market for them began to shrink in the 1970s. Japanese firms sold 1.6 million machines last year, including exports, compared with 4.3 million in 1969. Brother...

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