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Internation Relations and Trade

FOREIGN INVESTMENTS—U.S. AND HAWAII

Senator Dan Inouye, representing the U.S. Sub-committee on Foreign Commerce and Tourism, Committee on Commerce, opened two days of public hearings at the State Capitol Dec. 27 on "The Impact of Foreign Investments in the U.S," Senator Inouye made these points in his opening remarks:

  1. Great Britain, Canada, Norway, Sweden and West Germany are chief investors in U.S. Japan is not large yet,

  2. The two devaluations of the U.S. $ has helped Japan compete on an equal basis,

  3. Our Chamber of Commerce opened an office in Japan to attract investments and participated in the Osaka Fair in 1970..

  4. Much data is not available yet on the effect on labor or balance-of payments.

  5. World and national recession may slow investments.

  6. Most of his mail from Hawaii on this issue is emotional in regards to Japan investments. Hawaii was chosen for these hearings because the proportion of Japan investments is highest here.

  7. The Committee will use this testimony to deal with its problem (if is a problem) in Congress where hearings will continue with mainland people testifying.

  8. All this may lead to restrictive legislation in the future to prevent economic control by foreign investors,

Testimony Briefs Pro-Con

The Honorable George Ariyoshi, Lt. Governor,

Lt. Gov. Ariyoshi compared problems in Hawaii in 1949 and 1973 and called both these years difficult economically. The International and National economic crisis is bad. He believes interchange helps world understanding and contributes to State goals, so Hawaii must welcome international trade and will continue to take a positive approach, He wants to see-

  1. fewer short term investments.

  2. knowledge of Hawaii's ways and culture.

  3. more joint ventures.

  4. jobs created to go to Hawaiians from top to bottom.

  5. closed tour systems discouraged, i.e, no packaged tours by Japan.

  6. diversified agriculture. aquaculture, mining of sea beds around Hawaii.

  7. human "think tank", i.e. research center here on trade, sea, astronomy, East-West relations.

Ed Greaney, Deputy Director, DPED Historically, we have always had foreign investments, and es long as we believe in expanding trade, we will have it. The mixed emotions we have are good and healthy, and public apathy is bad, America, historically and philosophically, has always had a tradition of free enterprise, therefore, there can be no restraints on foreign investments. The U.S. is the largest foreign investor in the world. Foreign countries may buy land businesses; practice lending and borrowing--all legal. There is a paucity of data on total investments, perhaps computers can solve this.

Japan's recent hotel buying in the islands is healthy interest and not a take-over. The percentage is low, We should welcome them, as all others, but caution them to contribute to the Hawaii community. Comprehensive planning is very important, so that Hawaii acts and does not just react, There is one negative aspect --recently land on the Big Island was sold at extremely high prices to Japan, In order to recapture adequate profits, intensive development must be done, This must be discouraged--this overpaying for land. At present Japan investment in Hawaii is between 250-300 million.

Wesley Hillendahl, Vice--President, Sank of Hawaii

He directed his testimony to Hawaii economics only. Balance of payments are helped by foreign investments and will be helped more in the future. Hawaii has not been able to generate its own capital and needs investments. Capital alone won't stimulate economy, a market must be there. As an economist he feels we need free flow of goods, liberal trade, minimum of restrictions, no "Pollyanna" approach and no unilateral action.

John Simpson, President, Hawaii Visitors Bureau

He feels Japan investments can affect Hawaii economy. Japan is aware of growing tourism "in their own back yard". Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world today. The Japanese stay all over the islands not just in their own hotels.

The buying of our lands stimulates the economy. It is beneficial to our balance of payments. The concern is that the Japanese may control all movement of nationals all over, i.e, golf courses and Makaha Inn, and this is a possibility. We could lose tax revenues if everything is pre-paid by coupons in j a pan,. The potential exists for closed systems. It is minimal at present.

Ray Milici, Chairman of the Board, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii

Chamber of Commerce in 1970 sent trade missions to Osaka to encourage investments because of the slowdown in the economy and lack of mainland capital. Chamber of Commerce supports free economy policy and sees no immediate problem. The rumors of racism are emotional due to inept PR and the concentration of dollars in tourism industries. There should be joint ventures and diversification. Due to the energy crisis we will see less land buying by Japanese and less money to take abroad. (See Jan 4 Star Bulletin articles on Japan Fiscal Curbs and the battered Yen).

The C of C does worry that this could lead to racism. The C of C is not sure it wants government restrictions (in answer to a direct question by Sen. Inouye, but more communication by way of monthly meetings with Japan industry leaders,

Hideo Kajikawa, President, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

He represents 540 members and feels the energy crisis will have a great influence on foreign investments, He went on record in favor of and encouraging foreign investments. The U.S. has put pressure in Japan for free enterprise and Japan has responded that the U.S. has lots to lose in an economic crisis. Sen. Inouye asked how relations with Japanese investors could be improved, and Mr. Kajikawa said that he would like to see more seminars held. Asked if he saw any negative aspects to all this; he gave no answer.

George Chaplin, Editor, Honolulu Advertiser.

There is a perception gap between Japan-U.S. leading to misunderstandings in dollars, textiles, soybeans, and land ownership. Since. Japan doesn't allow much land ownership why didn't they anticipate the problem? Their PR is poor and they merely responded to our asking them to come. Many U.S. states and communities are eager for Japan capital. For example, both Cambridge and Boston have big labor forces for the electronics industries, and are asking and welcoming Japanese ...investors. The question is does it enhance our vision and our level of life? Then welcome it. We need an enlightened consensus, not an emotional response leading to racism.

Sen. Inouye asked if there should be State action to discourage tourism only. Mr. Chaplin replied that the Japanese are highly sensitive to criticism, and there has been a slowdown in influx, He feels no barriers are needed.

Testimony from Mayor Fasi, George Mason, Dr. George Kanahele, Edward Brennan, Arthur Rutledge and David Fry will be reported in the next Voter.

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