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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:55 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Japan welcoming more U.S. businesses

Associated Press

TOKYO A freer financial market and opportunities from globalization are allowing more U.S. companies to run businesses here, according to an annual report by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

"U.S. businesses have gone from primarily trading with Japan to doing business in Japan," said Robert Grondine, the group's president.

The report also makes recommendations for Japan to restore growth to its economy and proposes lifting more barriers for American businesses in this nation, notoriously closed to outsiders.

As U.S. investments grow, the demands of U.S. companies are no longer those of outsiders, but of companies with a stake in Japan's welfare, the American Chamber of Commerce said.

Among its recommendations:

Reduce telecommunications costs to boost computer use.

Improve transparency in government, especially for corporate regulations.

Improve transparency in the corporate sector by having outside directors and requiring more reliable financial statements.

Deregulate the health and home-care industries so good services at reasonable prices are available to the elderly.

The group's "2001 U.S.-Japan Business White Paper" warns that Tokyo has been backtracking on promised reforms, blaming the downturn in the stock market rather than seeing it as a warning to speed reforms.

Discrimination remains against foreign lawyers, the report says, citing restrictions on partnerships between Japanese and foreign lawyers.