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What's Behind the Toyota Bashing?

Feb. 12, 2010 (EIRNS)—Japanese and U.S. sources have indicated to EIR that the Toyota recall of millions of cars (mostly in the U.S.A.), and the massive media campaign to demonize Toyota, may be at least in part the result of a conscious effort to undermine, or even destroy, Toyota's U.S. operations, for refusing to support efforts to bailout worthless debt instruments. Japanese sources said that it was widely believed by knowledgeable people in Japan that there is an effort to undermine Toyota, but that the Japanese press won't report it.

Today, however, the Korea Herald reported it:

The world's most dominant and profitable automaker's recall of over 8.5 million cars has spiraled out of control. At first, it seemed to be a normal recall of defective cars. But the crisis Toyota Motor Corp. faces has surpassed the purely 'business' level to involve political and geopolitical dimensions. Many observers suspect something other than safety concerns behind the harsh response of the United States to Toyota's recall. To former Kia Motors chairman Kim Sun-hong, the U.S. reaction to the Toyota problem is an act of 'killing the chickens to scare the monkeys.'

The Herald explains this Chinese proverb as a reference to the

cruel yet effective tactic of killing one to tame a hundred: As monkeys misbehave in the treetops, annoyed humans violently kill chickens in front of the monkeys. From fear, the monkeys get silent and tamed.

The former Kia chairman told the Herald that Toyota has had many recalls, which are a normal and responsible thing among all auto companies. However, said Kim, in the eyes of certain American financial interests, "Toyota has crossed the line that it should not have crossed."

Sources told EIR that the "line" being referred to was that Toyota pulled out of joint ventures with General Motors last year, when U.S. interests were asking Toyota to help bail them out (referring to bailing out huge amounts of worthless financial derivatives and other speculative financial instruments that GMAC got stuck with in its financial speculative activity). Founded to finance motor vehicles sales, GMAC Financial Services is reportedly one of the world's largest financial services companies, having expanded into financial services, including banking, mortgages, investing, and insurance. GM now only owns 6.7% of GMAC Financial Services, while the hedge fund Cerberus owns about 15%, and over 56% is owned by the U.S. Treasury, as the result of the U.S. government bailout.

Not only has the U.S. press run, on a daily basis, exaggerated and selective reports on the supposed dangers of Toyota cars (for years recognized as among the safest and most solidly constructed cars in the world), but the Wall Street Journal even ran a lead story blatantly advising that people sell their Toyota stock.

Kim added:

The message that Washington wants to send through the Toyota recall crisis is that other companies could also be put into such a quandary. The U.S. government wants its trading partners to heed the warning.

The Herald reports that many observers in Japan seem to echo Kim's view.

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