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U.

S. auto executives have recently alleged that Japan's auto market is protectionist. They're citing the fact that Japan's Cash For Clunkers program excludes all U.S.-made vehicles as evidence of this protectionism.

Unfortunately, this is a gross oversimplification.

While it is true that Japanese consumers are reluctant to buy American-made vehicles, Japan's Cash for Clunkers program was not specifically designed to discriminate against American cars.

In fact, more than half of all cars sold in Japan do not qualify for vouchers in Japan's clunkers program. Japan's program, unlike America's program earlier this year, emphasizes fuel economy.

What's more, American cars aren't even emissions certified. In order to save money, American car companies take advantage of Japan's "preferential handling protocol," which means Ford, GM, and Chrysler can skip emissions testing and a bunch of other official certification programs. It saves them millions of dollars...but it also excludes them from participation in the clunkers program.

Japan's Cash for Clunkers program isn't an example of protectionism - it's an example of American auto makers playing politics.

Read the full story to see more details + learn which Ford exec used to work for George W. Bush...

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Protectionism or Politics - The Truth Behind Japan's Cash For Clunkers Program

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