Mid-American Guide

Trans-Pacific Viewpoints

March 4, 1996

Dear Editor,

  I have read, with some interest but with more dismay, the recent letters to
 the editor regarding our American Japanese "experts." I have been involved
 in business for many years in Southeast Asia, and in particular with Japan.
 As a Western businessman, I have learned some of the Asian personal and
 business customs but it's still difficult to do business. I do not speak,
 read or write any of the Asian languages, except some of the basi
c greetings, salutations and polite amenities.
  I am looking for solutions for my business. I am exposed to much of the
 U.S. media analyst's interpretations of what is wrong between the U.S. and
 Japanese/Asian relationships. But I don't know who to believe.
  The wrangling that arose out of the San Diego conference mentioned doesn't
 seem to help. I have read Dr. Fujiwara's letter and the responses by Mr.
 Eckel and Dr. Johnson. All three seem more interested in addressing personal
 inadequacies than delving into the real problem and possible solutions.
  Dr. Fujiwara apparently has a Japanese readership following, one of his few
 statements not attacked. Mr. Eckel suggests that Dr. Fujiwara must have had
 help in writing his letter in the English language. I'm sorry Eckle didn't
 address his Japanese communication skills. How do we know who Dr. Fujiwara
  Dr. Johnson defended the conference of American Japanese experts but didn't
 address the real issues in which I have interest. Japan's biggest customer
 is the U.S. Japan has invested heavily in our government's economic
 infrastructure. If Japan runs into serious financial problems, I am
 concerned that this would be more disastrous for the American economy than a
 severe U.S. recession. I want to know what I can expect.
  Let's address the agenda of how to expand the U.S. businessman's
 opportunities in Asia, not theory. Whose right or wrong, who has the most
 publications, or who has the best English writing style…doesn't impress me.
  Tell me what is being done or should be done to solve the trade, cultural
 and business problems between Japan and the U.S. That's what I need. Let the
 academic experts party somewhere else. I want an even playing field. I think
 an interplay of the actual business issues will sort out those using smoke
 and mirrors from those whose agenda identifies the real problems and targets
 real solutions. Being a critic is easy. Being a problem solver isn't. What's
 the answer?


Dear Mr. Allen,
  You have raised some very important points; petty bickering between
 scholars does not contribute towards solving the problems now facing the
 U.S.-Japan relationship.
  Insofar as wanting to know what to expect should Japan run into serious
 economic problems, does anyone really know? However, through my position as
 editor of MA:NG, I will do my best to make such information available to its
 readership. Let's try to find the answer together.
  Informing MA:NG of your lack of Japanese abilities only reiterates the sort
 of information I need to publish in the future. By the way, did you read
 "Know Before You Go: Travel Tips" in our first issue? Stay tuned, you won't
 be disappointed!

-Lee Uehara, Editor


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