Fighting Off the Suitcase Brigade

American chipmakers call for a crackdown on Japanese dumping

The tiny computer chips known as semiconductors are wizards at running just about everything, from talking bears to ballistic missiles -- but they cannot yet settle an argument. In fact, they are the cause of a fierce controversy between the U.S. and Japan, whose ill-matched trade balances have become a perennial source of friction. The conflict is rich in intrigue and deception, involving illegal practices, predatory salesmen, a suitcase brigade and even a smoking gun. At stake is not only the future of the $11.4 billion U.S. semiconductor industry but also the fate of the sophisticated weapons systems on which national...

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