Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toyota and Japan

From CNN:

...growing in Japan is an undercurrent of conspiracy theories: That the U.S. government, now majority owner of General Motors -- the world's largest automaker before Toyota took the throne last year -- has an interest in bringing down the reputation of the company and its leader.

I don't think it has much to do with the U.S. government's stake in GM. But something does seem a bit 'off'. The same Congress of health care and jobs gridlock is acting with ruthless efficiency when it comes to Toyota, after years of ignoring consumer complaints.

I do wonder if it has to do with the new government in Japan and its stated desire to become more independent of Washington. Though economically it remains a country very much reliant on the U.S. market. The most prominent issue in dispute is the future of the U.S. military on Okinawa.

And along those lines:

The top U.S. Marine in the Pacific said on Friday that his forces needed to be based on the southern island of Okinawa for strategic reasons, as Tokyo struggles to resolve a dispute with Washington over relocating a base.

As an aside, I recall a CNBC interview with billionaire Wilbur Ross, when he mentioned 'worrying' campaign promises coming out of Japan, shortly before Hatoyama's Democratic Party came to power. It was clearly something on the radar of at least one very wealthy person in the ruling class.

1'Japan Inc.'s reputation rides on Toyoda' - CNN; Voigt
2'Top U.S. Pacific Marine says base must be in Okinawa' - Reuters

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