dumping statutes was protectionist. . . . Clinton will stumblernagain. . . . Drop Detroit’s tariff. . . . Your car price will increasernby 20 percent. . . . One more Detroit bail out. . . . Pastrntariffs bave only hurt the American people. . . .” Friendlyrnjournalists and editorial writers quickly echoed these messages.rnAgain, the idea was to intimidate the Big Three withrnnegative publicity into not pursuing their legal rights.rnIn Washington, D.C., access and influencerngo hand-in-hand; they are the stockrnand trade of the lobbyist, the lawyer,rnand the political advisor. They are, asrnwell, the biggest “skill” current officeholdersrnand staff members can take with them whenrnthey leave the government.rnFinally, representatives of the Japanese Fimbassy quietlyrncontacted newly appointed officials in the Clinton administrationrnand suggested that the dumping case would harm relationsrnwith Japan. The not-so-subtle message was that therngovernment should urge the domestic automakers to droprntheir case. In a February 1993 off-the-record session, newly appointedrnU.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Mickey Kantorrntold trade reporters that the new administration might opposernthe dumping petition. After the Los Angeles Times printedrna story about Kantor’s comments, a spokesperson for thernUSTR denied them.rnIn the face of possible political opposition from the newrnadministration and adverse publicity generated by Japan’srnlobbyists, public relations specialists, and grass-roots organizations,rnthe Big Three announced that they had decided torn”postpone” their ease. In the end, Japan’s investment inrnlobbyists, public relations advisors, and political consultantsrnallowed it to preempt the Big Three’s case. And in the process,rnthe Japanese automakers avoided having their competitivernpractices examined—without making a single concessionrnor agreeing to a single demand. T’his is what political power isrnall about.rnForeign politicking and propagandizing in America raisernimportant questions about how the United States wishesrnto conduct its democratic practices. The importance of thesernquestions is reflected in the fact that Japan’s government andrnleading companies together spend $500 million annually runningrnan ongoing political campaign in the United States. Thisrnfigure represents an amount roughly double the annual expendituresrnof both the Republican and Democratic parties.rnPut another way, Japan spends more on its thousand-personrnlobby in Washington, D.C., than the five most influentialrnAmerican business organizations—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,rnthe National Association of Manufacturers, the BusinessrnRoundtable, the Committee for Economic Development,rnand the American Business Council—combined, hirnfact, Japan spends more in America on lobbying, politicking,rnand propagandizing than the 12 nations of the EuropeanrnCommunity combined. The people whom it hires as its representatives,rnlobbyists, and spokespersons come from the highestrnlevels of American public life—the best and the brightestrnpolicymakers, political strategists, legal experts, and electedrnand appointed officials.rnLike any high-quality political campaign, the Japanese programrnin the United States depends on a tested formula forrnits success: keep your message simple, use a variety of crediblernmessengers, and let the echo-effect drown out your opponents.rnThe basic components of their ongoing campaign are:rnintelligence gathering, lobbying, politicking at the grass-rootsrnlevel, and propaganda. The campaign, of course, is completelyrnlegal. It also deeply corrodes the integrity of the economicrnand political system of the United States.rnIn polities, as in manufactured products, the Japanese followrna simple and predictable strategy: protect your domestic marketrnfrom foreign penetration and capture as much of yourrncompetitor’s market share as possible. In Japan, it is unthinkablernthat a top government official would become a top lobbyistrnfor an American corporation, that a candidate for highrnoffice would accept a campaign contribution from a foreignrncorporation, that a foreign government would stage-manage arngrass-roots political campaign among its people, or that foreignrncompanies or governments would establish think-tanks tornfeed ideas into its government. In all these ways, Japan is arnclosed political market.rnYet in all these ways, Japan is gaining political market sharernin the United States, spending hundreds of millions of dollarsrnfor competitive advantage. To the Japanese, politics is anotherrnlegitimate business expense. Moreover, they are preparedrnto spend whatever it takes on politics to secure theirrneconomic goals—recognizing that $500 million per year is arnbargain if it safeguards a $50 billion-per-year bilateral tradernsurplus.rnJapan’s political machine in the United States is designed tornserve six national and corporate goals: to keep the Americanrnmarket open for exports from Japan; to smooth the way for additionalrnpurchases of key assets in the United States; to bluntrncriticism of Japan’s adversarial trade practices; to neutralize or,rneven better, to capture the political influence of the Americanrncompanies that compete with Japan; to influence U.S. tradernpolicies toward Japan, Europe, and all other markets wherernJapan has significant economic interests; and to create an integratedrnAmerican-Japanese economy that prevents thernUnited States from confronting Japan economically and politically.rnThe Japanese political strategy in the United States replicatesrnthe political mind-set in Japan in some fundamentalrnrespects. In Japan, money politics is an established fact. Arngold triangle, consisting of the Liberal Democratic Partyrn(LDP), elite bureaucrats in government ministries, and establishedrncorporate leaders from business dominates Japan’srndomestic political machinery in a way designed to serve therncountry’s economic interests. In Japanese politics, moreover,rnthe line between gifts and bribes is hard to discern. As dozensrnof recent scandals in Japan have revealed, leading Japanesernpoliticians take millions of dollars from companies that wantrnspecial favors. Invariably, the politicians are never prosecutedrnand the money is seen as political contributions. The Japaneserncall this approach to politics “structural corruption.” It is thernsame approach to politics that the Japanese are now vigorouslyrnpracticing in the United States—with the active par-rn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn