Blytheville's Bounty

You won't find anyone swinging a sledgehammer at a Toyota in Blytheville, Ark. Situated in one of the most impoverished sections of the U.S., the Mississippi River town (pop. 24,000) has outdone itself trying to make Japanese business people feel welcome. In 1985, when Blytheville first learned that the Japanese steel firm Yamato Kogyo and North Carolina-based Nucor were looking for a 500-acre site to build a jointly owned mill, the townspeople rallied to action. The school system agreed to add extra English classes and hire special tutors. The Cotton Boll Vocational and Technical School promised low-cost training to help Japanese...

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