THE JAPAN THAT CAN SAY NO: Why Japan Will Be First Among Equals by Shintaro Ishihara
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THE JAPAN THAT CAN SAY NO: Why Japan Will Be First Among Equals

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Something new under the rising sun: no-punches-pulled US-bashing by a maverick politician and a now silent partner. When published in Japan last year, this purposefully provocative polemic had two bylines, including that of Akio Morita, a founder of Sony Corp. Apparently worried about the possibility of a marketplace backlash, he removed his name from the authorized American edition, leaving Ishihara, a 22-year member of the Diet (Japan's parliament), to take the credit--or blame--for the text's intemperate invective. As a practical matter, there's considerable method in the abandoned author's madness. He's convinced, for openers, that Tokyo must deal more assertively with Washington if his country is to assume its rightful place in the world. To this end, Ishihara welcomes, even invites, confrontation and controversy; he boasts about Japan's technological prowess and suggests that the USSR could be allowed to buy its microchips if Uncle Sam's demands upon his country become too onerous. Elsewhere, the author makes the attention-grabbing claim that the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan, not Nazi Germany, was racially motivated. While conceding Japanese stewardship was not an unalloyed blessing, he also argues that the latter-day economic success of South Korea and other Asian neighbors owes much to yesteryear's age of empire. Last but not least, Ishihara offers a wonderfully cheeky, often patronizing, agenda for America. His 10-point program encompasses over 100 separate proposals ostensibly designed to help US industry regain its competitive edge. The frequently self-serving directives range from balancing the federal budget through curbing LBOs, relaxing bars to foreign investment, abolishing international-trade restraints, shifting R&D emphasis from military to civilian projects, adopting the metric system, and allocating 5% of GNP to education. A scattershot exercise in Neanderthal nationalism that, notwithstanding extremist excesses, is must reading for anyone at all concerned about the ties that bind Japan and the US.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster