The Superpower That Isn't There

Where's Japan? As the world's corporate giants scramble for contracts to raise a new Kuwait, representatives of the mightiest trading nation on earth have been sitting out the action. Major Japanese companies have not even participated in the bidding for reconstruction work in the devastated gulf country. Government leaders have warned Japanese firms against joining the rush for jobs lest they be seen as kajiba dorobo, or thieves who steal from a fire. "We won't take any initiative," says an official of a Japanese engineering company. "If Kuwait approaches us, we'll go. But for now we want to just wait and...

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