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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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7. THE BANKER

WHAT HAPPENED AT NISSAN was a microcosm of the struggles going on throughout the country. In the early 1950s Japan’s industrial class was still shaken and groggy from the war. Against it, an energetic working class was rising, often led by militant radicals. A confrontation was inevitable. When it occurred, at Nissan, it helped define the future of Japan and had profound implications for America.

The militants tended to mount their main challenge against the leading company in each industry, and in autos this meant either Toyota or Nissan. Because Toyota was in Toyota City, a classic company town near Nagoya, it was a less attractive target than Nissan, headquartered in Tokyo. They believed that if they could crack a company as ...

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