Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999
From: Suisan <>
Subject: Re: Report on Apple etc

Here is a David Aldwinckle size message. It has a couple of examples that you may be able to use for The Community with regards to institutionalized racial discrimination by the financial sector in Japan.

1) APPLE JAPAN and JACCS Credit Card Company.

I am a 37-year-old businessman and Part Time University Lecturer. I am a long term Japanese resident having lived here for 7 years. I own a trading company that has 3 branches, employs 8 full time staff and is trading profitably. I am also the Vice-Chairman of the Hokkaido International Business Association. I have been married for 4 years. My wife is an architect and earns a good salary. We live in a modern family owned apartment in the center of Sapporo. I think my standing in the community is quite high. As proof of this is I was recently sent to Russia by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry as part of an international development mission. While there I give a speech in Japanese on Japanese Business, use of computers for business and also met with many new Russian entrepreneurs.

I had been a loyal Macintosh user for 12 years and wanted to trade up to the new G3. Apple Japan was offering an "Apple Smart Loan" with a 1% interest rate. I went the Eki Mae Dori branch of Tsukumo and asked about the loan. I was told that all that was needed was a copy of my Alien registration card and bank account details. I filled in the credit application form and waited the 30 minutes while the credit check was done. I was quite surprised that a credit check could be very thorough given the short space of time involved. I went back to the shop after 30 minutes and the clerk phoned the credit provider. The credit provider asked a few cursory questions such as "do you
have any children?". The reply came back that I couldn't get the loan unless I had a Japanese guarantor for the loan. I got Takako to contact the credit provider Kabushiki Kaisha JACCS (011 - 221-7272). She spoke to a Ms Nakamura who told her that I had been refused because I didn't have a Japanese guarantor. She then asked to speak to Ms Nakamura's supervisor and after persisting got hold of a Mr. Tabuchi. He told her that "as a foreigner I could run away back to my own country with the computer and not pay the loan".

As well as being plainly ridiculous this is nothing but racial discrimination. The worker I recently laid off was eligible for the loan because he was Japanese - even though his paying of the loan depended on receiving a wage from me.

Having the misguided faith that Apple is a morally responsible International Corporate Citizen I contacted Apple complaints to ask them to look into this discrimination. They sent back a reply that the local office would handle this. I received the following insipid reply from Apple Japan Customer services;

"Although we are unable to interfere and have no authority to change the credit screening policy of the credit agency, we have made a request to the agency to take appropriate measures and deal sincerely with each Apple Smart Loan applicant strictly in accordance with Japanese law.

We ask you to kindly understand that Apple has always treated its customers without any discriminatory intention.

We appreciate your constructive opinion and hope that you will continue being our important customer.

Customer Relations
Apple Japan, Inc."

I found it difficult to believe that a company as large as Apple was unable to ensure that one of it's contracted companies acted to a civilized level of moral standards. I also found it difficult to believe that they wished me to continue being a customer.

After the landmark Bortz case I wrote back to Apple Japan, and also to as many Apple representatives in the States as I could to explain that Japanese law does in fact bar discrimination on the basis of race. So far I have received nothing back from them.


I started business in Japan by exporting Australian seafood. To do this I felt I needed to be in the export market and accordingly started a Japanese branch.

After a few years of persistence my sales increased dramatically. I was totally self funded and felt confident that with the track record I was creating and the business being profitable I would get some banking support. At this time the Australian Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) had a system in place to help Australian exporters compete with local companies in their export markets. Basically the Australian Government insured exporters against their customers going bankrupt or repudiating their contracts. The insurance was for 90% of contract value and allowed for open account sales of up to 180 days from date of export. The only requirement was for a reputable credit reporting agency to give a favorable report.

A major Hokkaido company finally agreed to do some business. They were large buyers - AUD$250,000 per month. The only stipulation was that they pay on the same conditions as they could get from other local suppliers i.e. close the books at the end of the month and issue a 60 day "Te Gata" (domestic credit note). I asked EFIC for a policy on this company. Te Koku Data did a credit check and gave them the thumbs up! Sales of US$800 million per year, adequate real estate, substantial stockholders etc, consequently EFIC issued a policy for the company.

I went to some banks to try to get a facility to discount the Te Gata - basically to lend me a certain percent of the face value so I could use this money to buy more stock. One local bank wasn't sure if they could trust the Australian Government (this was not surprising as on a previous visit the head
of the International Division showed his less than clear understanding of the workings of an LC.) I went to Takugin to try to get a system in place for discounting Te Gatas. The branch manager said that he would be able to discount them on the following conditions;

1) I get 2 Japanese guarantors
2) The EFIC policy gets made out to the Bank
3) We deposit the same amount of cash as the face value of the Te Gata into
the bank.

This meant that for my company to do business with the bank I needed 5 lots of security 1) my companies (prob. worthless), 2) the issuer of the Te Gata (substantial $800m t/o), 3&4 2 guarantors, 5) a cash deposit with the bank.

Even a thick-skinned person like myself could take the hint.

Consequently I had to downsize the business and get out of carrying stock in Japan altogether. I had a large amount of stock which I had trouble moving because I told my customers that after the stock was finished I wouldn't be carrying any more - they in turn didn't get any more orders. I eventually got rid of most of the stock at fire clearance prices.

I have had the last laugh on the banks as Takugin got into trouble and eventually went belly up due to among other things extending US$120,000,000 loans to criminals with only a blackmailing video as collateral, Hairdressers turned property developers building international resorts in suburban Sapporo, Resort developers building ski resorts on flat ground, and for bringing the term Shabu Shabu restaurant into disrepute!

Simon Jackson
Nov 17 1999

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