In fact most of what the foreigners have bought so far are prestigious names attached to sick, debt-laden institutions. As Daimler-Chrysler discovered recently when it walked away from merger talks with troubled Nissan Motors, it's sometimes hard to figure out where the timebombs are inside a Japanese company.
It's understandable that Western dealmakers are attracted to Japan.But to many Japanese such thinking is a threat. What will force Japan to change its attitude? More hard times. Today Japanese corporations still rely on close relationships with a "main bank". For that particular institution the beginning of the end is in sight.
- Michael Zielenziger, of Knight Ridder