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No. 356, May 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. has signed an agreement with LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP. to produce under license the MK 41 vertical launching system for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Murasame-class destroyers. This below-deck launching system is capable of firing many different types of missiles. The first phase of the contract, valued at approximately $70 million, includes the production of eight eight-cell modules, plus manufacturing data, assembly training and test equipment. Lockheed Martin's Launching Systems operation in Middle River, Maryland will assemble and test the first four MK 41 VLSs; MHI then will take over. Murasame-class ships already are equipped with two VLS modules, but Tokyo decided last year that each should have four eight-cell modules. Lockheed Martin also has outfitted Japan's Kongo-class ships with MK 41 VLS launchers.

Under a licensed production agreement that dates back to 1991, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. has ordered $19.6 million worth of AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasures production kits from NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP.'s Baltimore- headquartered Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector. The AN/ALQ-131 is a pod- mounted airborne electronic warfare system designed to counter surface-to-air and air-to-air radar threats. Delivery of the latest order will begin in April 2000. MELCO will assemble and test the electronic warfare systems for the Air Self-Defense Force.

Hoping to capitalize on the strength of its biggest market for pocket knives, cutlery and scissor manufacturer KAI INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. has given its longtime Wilsonville, Oregon subsidiary new product development responsibility for this line. The Gifu prefecture company also has eliminated a middleman in the distribution chain. Both steps, it hopes, will reverse a three-year decline in KAI U.S.A. LTD.'s sales and raise its profits by 5 percent in the year through March 2000.

The Ministry of Labor has made INTERNATIONAL CAREER INFORMATION, INC., the Jersey City, New Jersey subsidiary of RECRUIT CO., LTD., the first employment services firm licensed to place people living abroad in jobs in Japan. The people expected to use ICI's services, which are targeted at Japanese companies seeking midlevel employees with international experience, include Japanese managers in the United States who need to find new jobs in Japan because of downsizing by their companies as well as non-Japanese interested in working in Japan. ICI expects this new business to generate revenues of $2.3 million in the first year from the companies that contract for its services.

As part of MITSUBISHI CORP.'s strategy for strengthening its global supply management system, the trader's Tokyo-based MC TRANS INTERNATIONAL INC. affiliate, which was formed in July 1998, set up a subsidiary in Torrance, California. MC TRANS USA INC. and a counterpart European unit will be the core companies in Mitsubishi's attempt to improve its supply services business.

An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaa

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