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Maverick capitalist Boone Pickens has denounced them as "government-sponsored cartels." Chrysler's Lee lacocca has suggested forming "our own little keiretsu system" in the United States. But whether you regard Japan's mammoth corporate alliances as a menace to trade or a model for change, you probably don't understand how the keiretsu really operate. Here, at last, is the book that will open your eyes. "Our hard-nosed business leaders look like Dorothy wandering through Oz when it comes to dealing with Japan, " observes David Russell, an American business journalist based in Tokyo since 1982. In these pages, he and Japanese counterpart Kenichi Miyashita reveal the inner workings of the keiretsu. Their unbiased, readable investigation delivers a wealth of information about the system as a whole, its individual members, and the intricate web of relationships that links banks, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and the Japanese government. You'll gain insight into features that are common to most keiretsu, such as the "main bank, " stable shareholding, and seconded directors. You'll also examine concepts that have no American parallel, such as the general trading company. And you'll hear from Japanese subcontractors themselves about their experiences serving the keiretsu - an eye-opening look at life inside the pyramid. You'll learn all about the types of keiretsu and how they operate: . Horizontal keiretsu - the bank-centered Big Six: the Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Sanwa, and Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank Groups. Vertical keiretsu - the producers of cars (Toyota, fits Nissan , Honda) and electronics (Matsushita, Hitachi, Toshiba, Sony), and their "captive" subcontractors. Distributionkeiretsu - a subgroup of the vertical keiretsu that controls much of Japanese retailing, deciding what products will appear in stores and showrooms - and at what price. This is the first book to spell out not only the rules of the keiretsu, but the position of the many players within t
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Table of Contents

Behind the mask; keiretsu as a government tool; fortress keiretsu; stranglehold on business?; life beneath the keiretsu; how foreign firms can circumvent the keiretsu in Japan; turning the tables; keiretsu as fair play?; invincible or over the hill?; the keiretsu tomorrow.

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