At a time when Americans are increasingly worried about Japanese investment in the United States -- such as the purchase of MCA and Rockefeller Center by Japanese investors -- several experts gathered last week to discuss whether Japan's economic dealings with the U.S. are fair. New York attorney Carl Fernandez spoke in detail about Japan's "keiretsu" system, in which a group of companies mutually cooperate for the benefit of all, at the lecture in Stitler Hall last week. He dismissed the idea that Japanese companies do better than American ones because Japan is a more "homogeneous society," instead attributing Japanese success to a better understanding among the nation's businesses and to less complicated business contracts. He also said that Japanese employees change jobs less often, which helps their economy. Kuzuhide Ishikawa, first secretary of the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. and a University graduate, first gave a brief history of American-Japanese economic relations. Ishikawa talked about ways to make trade between the U.S. and Japan more efficient, suggesting that the two governments set up an agency. Management Professor Howard Pelmuller discussed the different business practices of the Japanese and attributed their success to a "corporate and national culture." Addressing the question "Is Japan Fair?," the title of the forum, Pelmuller said there was no way to test the fairness of the two countries' economic ties, but said the nations should own approximately the same amount of each others' economy for it to be considered "fair." Approximately 50 people attended the event, which was a part of the Wharton School's Vice Dean's International Lecture Series.Comments powered by Disqus
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