Enterpreneurs: Up Against a Miti Fortress

Up Against a Miti Fortress

The Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry can be tough. Ask any American businessman. In fact, ask any Japanese businessman. Taiji Satoh, 31, last year saw that gasoline in Singapore cost far less than it did in Japan, so he signed a contract to import 18,860 bbl. for his Lions Petroleum Co., which is based near Tokyo. But MITI had other ideas. The ministry had previously ruled that only crude oil, not gasoline, may enter Japan. Refining is done domestically. When word of Satoh's purchase got out, MITI Minister Keijiro Murata sent him an "advice" that bluntly warned, "Do not...

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