One theme I cover a lot is that capitalism in Japan doesn't work the way it does in other countries. For example, the free market here is rather "polite," with companies taking care to avoid targeting their competitors with cutthroat business practices. Panasonic's new line of televisions doesn't aim at knocking Sony's offerings out of the marketplace, and new Internet startups don't seek to destabilize existing businesses and benefit from the chaos that emerges. Another aspect of capitalism here is that the government -- national, prefectural and local -- involves itself with a lot of areas you'd expect the private sector to handle. Perhaps the best example of this is Japan Post, Japan's sprawling post office, which also operates as the world largest bank (they have $2.4 trillion in deposits) as well as a major seller of life insurance. These side businesses naturally bring it into competition with private banks and insurance companies, who loudly question why the government needs to be undercutting the private sector and taking away their business. Now Japan Post is planning on expanding to include business and housing loans, which has caused a new outcry from Japan's financial sector.
Japan Post draws fire for its expanding...services.