Cash Is King For Corporate Japan

Japan's corporate barons are probably bemused at Chrysler Corp.'s current predicament. Kirk Kerkorian's $20.5 billion takeover gambit would drain the auto maker's $7.3 billion cash reserves and add $10.7 billion in new debt. Such money grabs are unheard-of in clubby corporate Japan--and so are big shareholders bent on instant gratification. Small wonder: Compared with Chrysler's, the huge cash hoards at Toyota Motor, Matsushita Electric Industrial, and Hitachi are under lock and key.

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