The US Department of Justice is currently running what it calls “the biggest antitrust lawsuit in history”, targeting the auto parts industry. Most of the targeted companies so far are Japanese part makers from Nagoya. Some of the most famous names in the industry (Yazaki, Denso,…) have already had to pay massive fines, and have seen some of their managers incarcerated in America for sentences running up to 2 years, the longest ever given to a foreigner in an antitrust case in the US. And it is not over. Soon, the EU antitrust body will announce new fines. The Japan Fair Trade Commission itself has also issued its biggest fine in history on Yazaki. Yet this issue is barely covered by the Japanese press, and even by the American press. Surprisingly, the supposed victims of these cartels (Toyota, Honda, Nissan…), who had to pay their supplies at inflated prices, have been astoundingly silent.
This reflects the unpreparedness of Japanese companies in a globalized regulatory environment and also a culture of connivance (or cooperation) rather than competition. It is a fascinating story that affects business and also has cultural and social aspects.
Japan correspondent, Le Figaro and La Tribune
Regis Arnaud arrived in 1995 in Japan. He worked for 16 months at the French embassy, then joined the Ota Patents law firm. He later became a reporter at Agence France Presse and Bloomberg. In 2002, he became the Japan correspondent for Le Figaro and La Tribune, as well as editor of France Japon Eco, the magazine of the French chamber of commerce in Japan. His work appears regularly in other media, most notably Newsweek Japan and the Oriental Economist. He is also a film producer, most recently CUT, a 2011 feature film directed by Amir Naderi which opened the same year at the Venice Film Festival.