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It is unfortunate that the US chose to use automobiles as its wedge toopen the alleged closed markets of Japan One Japan-based managing executiveof the Big Three has even admitted that they consider the Japanese automobilemarket to be open Japan is not the island of protectionism in a sea of freetrade that its critic allege The problem for the US auto-makers is nota lack of market access but a lack of effort The first step required forthe US auto makers to sell competitively in Japan is not to impose ofridiculous tariffs but to have Detroit bring up the quality to Japanesestandards All in all the USs decision to use automobiles as its wedgeto open the Japanese market was surely a dangerous one In addition theutilization of unilateral actions by the US is clearly a violation ofinternational trade law Not only is this decision a resemblance of managedtrade but a policy which will weaken the leadership position of the USin the world economy as wellThe US needs to do what the Japanese did when they penetrated the Americanmarket hard market research and heavy investment The Japanese spent billionsof dollars studying American taste and manufacturing models that suited themThe Big Three have generally confined their efforts to sending models thatthey have made specifically for Americans Bill Duncan the head of the JapanAutomobile Manufacturers Assn states that it was the basic principals ofcompetition that made the Japanese automobile industry strong One example which reflects the short-sightedness of the Big Three is theinsufficient number of right-hand models available in Japan Since cars inJapan are driven on the left side all domestic makers produce right-handdrives Its simple the inconvenience of a left-hand drive at tolls parkinglots or when overtaking another car is too dangerous Naturally when theJapanese export their cars to the US in each of the 190 versions soldthey provide American drivers with a steering wheel where they expect iton the left side1 On the other hand US exports
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