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Mitsui pleads guilty to fraud

Trade frictions between the U.S. and Japan worsened last week when still another Japanese company became ensnared in an American criminal prosecution. In San Francisco the U.S. subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (1981 sales: an estimated $45 billion), one of Japan's largest trading companies, pleaded guilty to a 21-count customs fraud indictment in connection with steel exports to the U.S., and agreed to pay $11.2 million in civil and criminal fines. The penalties against the company, which handles about 40% of Japanese steel sales in America, were the heaviest in the 193-year history of the U.S....