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There was a time, not that long ago, when Americans were obsessed with Japan. [Y]ou couldn’t enter an airport bookstore without encountering rows of dust jackets featuring rising suns and samurai warriors.

Members of Japanese keiretsu…typically owned substantial quantities of each other’s shares, making management largely independent of the outside stockholders….[They were] insulated from short-term financial pressures.

The result of this system, claimed both those who admired it and those who feared it, was a country able to take the long view.

Only much later would those same distinctive characteristics…come to be labeled crony capitalism and seen as the root of economic malaise.

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