This question of conglomerates, the so-called keiretsu, is an old one. This has been a critical component of U.S.-Japan negotiations since the early 1980s. In fact, back in the mid 1980s the U.S. and Japan had a big struggle over exactly the same problem, which blocks access for some key foreign manufacturers in Japan. It makes it very expensive when you have to build your own retail network.
This is a big structural issue for Japan. It's hard to solve such a huge structural issue with an EPA with one country, with Canada. It has evolved a lot over the last 15 years. Since the mid-1990s, particularly around 1999, there was a stream of corporate governance reform, structural reforms, that actually encouraged the unwinding of those cross-share holdings. Those conglomerates are loose, right? Before the war they were very tight, like in Korea. In Korea they are tighter. They became just cross-share holdings. The cross-share holdings have really decreased since about 1999. The number of shares represented by the cross-share holdings used to be about 60% of the stock market evaluation. Now it's dropped by half at least. Instead, the foreign shareholders now own 30% of the stock market in Japan. So there has been a very big transformation.
In practice, it varies by company and by sector. Some companies have really broken their cross-share holdings, say Nissan, for example. Others, like Toyota, haven't, or they have decreased the level, but they have kept some linkages. It's an ongoing, slow process that's moving toward a more open economy. It's something that's really long and structural and general, and it may be that Canada has to work with other partners, like the U.S.
I should add, however, that METI, the trade ministry, is also the ministry for industry, and they are reformers at heart. They believe that Japan should have a more flexible, industrial structure, but not for the same reasons. They believe that Japan is not competitive enough because it's not nimble enough, it's unable to reallocate capital fast enough. So they have a similar agenda. Often, they're willing to use EPA or trade negotiations as a Trojan Horse to push their own reform agenda.
So identifying those points of commonality with the reformist ministries and some reformist entities....