You Scratch My Back . . .

A stock scandal exposes the cozy ties among Japan's power elite

Joyous floor traders on the Tokyo Stock Exchange celebrated the end of 1988 with a traditional hand-clap ceremony last week as share prices closed at record levels. But their applause could not drown out the rising furor over a stock scandal that has already toppled several of Japan's leading business and political figures. Not since former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka was convicted of taking bribes from Lockheed during the mid-'70s have the Japanese been so shaken by disclosures of official wrongdoing. As the scandal spreads, it threatens to tarnish Japan's image abroad and to undermine the country's confidence in its businessmen...

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