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Shinzo Abe was sworn in as Japan's new prime minister – its seventh in six years – barely a week ago. To count him as the seventh PM is a bit disingenuous, in fact, since he was the prime minister in 2006 and 2007 but had to retire due to medical issues. His return came after a campaign that stressed repairing the nation's economic issues – a platform that should give you an idea of the issues Japan has had at the top step of its government. Chief among the nation's woes? An ec
For years, Detroit automakers would argue that the Japanese yen was artificially devalued, and that the value of the currency was a big competitive advantage to the likes of Toyota and Honda. To erase this gap, The Detroit Three pressured suppliers to lower costs in any way possible, which caused ill-will within their supply bases. In fact, Japanese automakers routinely scored higher in supplier relation studies, while General Motors, Ford and Chrysler hovered at the bottom of the list.
General Motors CEO used the bully pulpit at GM's annual shareholders' meeting to repeat a complaint that has been made several times in the past few decades (and will likely will be heard many times again) - the Japanese government is artificially holding the value of the yen low relative to the dollar to help its exporters. The same complaint was recently issued by Chrysler's Tom LaSorda as well. A lower value for the yen makes it easier to stick a lower price tag on an auto that's importe
At the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan on Thursday, Chrysler president and CEO Tom LaSorda said he plans to call on George W. Bush to confront Japan about an artificially low yen rate that he maintains unfairly allows Japanese automakers up to a $3,000 advantage per vehicle over their American counterparts. LaSorda said that he, Rick Wagoner and Bill Ford plan to raise this topic, along with health care and energy policy, with President Bush in a meeting scheduled for later
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