Rising Sunnby Michael CrichtonnNew York: Alfred A. Knopf;n355 pp., $22.00nThe Japan That Can Say No: WhynJapan Will Be First Among Equalsnby Shintaro IshiharanNew York: Simon and Schuster;n158 pp., $10.00nAmerica Asleep: The Free TradenSyndrome and the GlobalnEconomic ChallengenEdited by John P. Cregan,nForeword by Patrick BuchanannWashington, D.C.: The United StatesnIndustrial Council EducationalnFoundation; 201 pp., $8.95nAs a gorgeous American call girl liesnmurdered on the 46th floor of LosnAngeles’ Nakamoto Tower—a Japanesenconglomerate’s newly erected Americannheadquarters—a grand opening celebrationnwith Washington and Hollywoodnnotables is in full-swing on the floor below.nSecurity cameras have recorded thenmurder, but the video tapes have beennTheodore Pappas is the associate editornof Chronicles.n28/CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnAmerica: Ostrich or Eagle?nby Theodore Pappasn”Republics exist only on tenure of being agitated.”n—Wendell Phillipsntampered with by Japanese officials whonare hindering the police investigation withncries of racism and “Japan bashing.” “fcungnPeter Smith—the LAPD’s Japanese liaisonnwho knows nothing about Japanesenbehavior but who likes the exorbitantnstipend Japan provides for “language training”—hasnbeen called to the scene. He isnaccompanied by semiretired policemannJohn Connor, who is steeped in Japanesenculture from years of living abroad. Whilenin Nakamoto’s glass elevator—for whichnthe Japanese company received a specialncity permit to exceed the legal limit ofnninety floors and to “bypass [American]nunions because of a so-called technicalnproblem that only Japanese workers couldnhandle”—they overhear a group discussnthe rate at which the Japanese are buyingnCalifornia real estate. “In no other countrynin the world,” laments Connor uponnexiting the elevator, “would you hear peoplencalmly discussing the fact that theirncities and states were sold to foreigners.”n”Discussing?” Smith retorts, “They’re thenones doing the selling.”nAnd so begins the latest thriller fromnnovelist and film director Michael Crichton.nThe narrative is riveting and captivatesnthe reader with high-stakes intriguenand political and industrial espionage. Itnis also, admittedly, fiction as politicalnpolemic, with situations and charactersnnnthat exist exclusively as opportunities forncultural comment and political harangues.nAs Mr. Crichton states forthrightly in anpostscript, “This novel questions the conventionalnpremise that direct foreign investmentnin American high technologynis by definition good, and therefore shouldnnot be allowed to continue without restraintnor limitation.” There follows anbibliography more akin to an academicnbook on Japanese culture, economics,nand business psychology than a successfulnwork of mass-market fiction. He encouragesnhis readers to delve deeper intonactual trade practices and by so doingnto learn a lesson in realpolitik: “It is absurdnto blame Japan for successful behavior,nor to suggest that they slowndown. The Japanese consider such Americannreactions childish whining, andnthey are right. It is more appropriatenfor the United States to wake up, to seenJapan clearly, and to act realistically.”nRising Sun is replete with explanationsnof price fixing, product dumping, patentnflooding, and influence peddling, and asnsuch constitutes a virtual textbook onncurrent Japanese trade practices. The authornembellishes and enhances the credibilitynof his narrative with referencesnto actual persons and recent events, suchnas the Toshiba controversy of 1987—whennhordes of paid American lobbyists blan-n