Anticompetitive Practices in Japan: Their Impacts on the Performance of Foreign Firms

Article excerpt

Anticompetitive Practices in Japan: Their Impacts on the Performance of Foreign Firms, by Masaaki Kotabe and Kent W. Wheiler. Wesport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1996. Pp. 208. $59.95 (hardcover) .

Anticompetitive Practices in Japan discusses whether unfair trade practices exist in Japan and the impact, if any, they have on American firms operating in Japan. The authors focus on three areas for review: (1) Japanese government policies and practices; (2) the exclusionary tactics of Japanese keiretsu; and (3) anticompetitive behavior in Japan, with a focus on U.S. and Japanese antitrust laws.

In chapter one, the authors discuss whether Japan actually does practice anticompetitive behavior, and the friction created by the trade imbalance between the United States and Japan. Japan asserts that, based on economic data, it practices fair trade. The authors note, however, that some believe the Japanese economic data are skewed. The authors conclude that the trade barriers in Japan are given too much political attention in the United States because of Japan's huge trade surplus with the United States. The authors argue, nonetheless, that Japanese trade barriers are real and strain U.S. and Japanese relations.

In chapter two, the authors review studies regarding barriers that inhibit foreign direct investment in Japan, the Japanese government's policies and bureaucracy, and the exclusionary practices of large corporate groups known as the keiretsu. By reviewing the studies, the authors attempt to answer two questions: (1) does anticompetitive behavior occur more frequently in Japan than in the United States; and, if so, (2) does the occurrence of anticompetitive behavior in Japan have a negative impact on American companies marketing manufactured goods in Japan? The authors believe that answers to these two questions have implications for U.S. companies attempting to start businesses in Japan, as well as U.S. and Japanese government policy makers, trade negotiators, and law enforcement officials.

The remainder of chapter two discusses anticompetitive behavior in Japan and its role in inhibiting foreign goods. …