Trading Exchanges With Japan
01 October 1987
`If the Japanese win, it is because they have a society that functions,' said one European executive.
Senior Japanese business executives attending the second Round Table Conference at Caux were agreeably surprised that the 'Japan bashing' they have come to expect at meetings where trade relations are discussed was totally absent.
Instead top representatives of organizations like Matsushita, Nomura Securities, Somitomo Electrical Industries, Keizai Doyukai and the Japan Times heard European and American industrialists say that they had to put their own house in order.
`If the Japanese win, it is because they have a society that functions,' said one European executive. 'They practise moral values like hard work, vigilance and the readiness to sacrifice which we used to have but have given up for a life of pleasure.'
The 'western' half of the Round Table represented senior people from Philips, Rank Xerox, Timken, Shell, the Interallianz Bank and the Stanford Research Institute.
Encouraged by such frankness, the Japanese agreed that their rising trade surplus had become `an obstacle to the free trade system'. Japan had needed to be jolted by the `shock' which the resulting world outcry had produced.
All agreed that no solution to the Japanese-US-European problems could be found without involving the Third World. Only by assuming wider responsibilities could each country harmonize national and world interests.
The group which had become involved through the Round Tables in a 'network of information and mutual trust' hope they might serve as an instrument to help bring about much needed change.