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Culture Shock

July 09, 1989

Concerning your article about the tumultuous shareholder meeting in Tokyo involving T. Boone Pickens Jr. and the Koito Manufacturing board ("Pickens, Rejected by Koito Directors, Blasts 'Japan Inc.'," June 30):

It appears that Pickens has failed to do his homework about Japanese business practices. In his efforts to gain a seat on Koito's board, Pickens should have known that boards of directors in Japan are employees of the company who have come up through the ranks due to their ability, seniority and age. In Japan, directors' seats are not "bought" from outside entities as they often are here. Also, Pickens' high profile and demanding demeanor destroyed the harmony that must prevail in any Japanese relationship.

His remarks of not being able to become a director because he "was not Japanese" and his speech full of "political overtones" is reminiscent of Archie Bunker. Further, Pickens' comment about the Koito shareholders meeting being "the most unusual shareholder meeting I have ever attended in my life" again shows his lack of understanding of Japanese business practices. He has only to look out the windows of his hotel to see those American firms that have taken the time to learn the Japanese way of doing business and have been successful.

It appears Pickens has received incorrect information from his advisers. He is also acting like a spoiled child who didn't get his own way. If Pickens doesn't learn soon how to do business in Japan, his opportunities there may soon be known as "Slim Pickins."

GREGORY MARSHALL

Moreno Valley

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