Japan scooped the other advanced democracies in October by putting on what many here regard as the most successful, single-nation industrial show ever held in the Soviet Union.
Japanese sources, not prone to exaggeration, said Tokyo's exhibition drew much bigger crowds than earlier shows put on here by China and West Germany.About 463 Japanese companies and organizations displayed more than 4,000 products ranging from personal home computers and robots to home appliances, bulldozers and cars withelectronically controlled engine speeds.
It was hard to gain entry to the exhibition even if you had a permit. Thousands of Soviet visitors lined up five and 10 abreast for almost a mile along the Moscow River embankment.
On a critical note, though, Japanese sources said the space provided Japan in the two major exhibition halls near the Moscow River was too small for the
size of the show.
The Kremlin was evidently so pleased with the Japanese exhibition that top Soviet leaders begged Japan to prolong the exhibition for 10 days, or even a week, according to Japanese sources.
But the Japanese, being hard-headed businessmen, refused because they did not see any profits from extending the show. They did, however, keep the doors open an extra day, a Saturday, to allow only top Soviet party and government officials to attend.
Some Japanese firms voiced optimism about making new deals with Moscow either this year, or in 1987 due to the exhibition.
Some Western and Japanese sources say the future of new Japan-Soviet business will likely de pend on the price of oil and on the energy market in general. The Soviets earn a large share of their hard currency from selling oil and natural gas abroad.
Some Western sources pointed out that while Japan was hustling almost round-the-clock for new business with Moscow, Americans were still arguing over which of the two superpowers miscalculated the most in Iceland.
Japanese-Soviet trade is rising. Last year two-way trade reached about US$4.5 billion, approximately US$400 million above the previous year while Soviet-American trade declined from about US$4.5 billion in 1984 to US$3.5 billion last year.
Many foreigners, including Americans, were also impressed with the Japanese show.
It is apparently too early to say what type and how many Japanese personal computers were actually sold to the Soviet Union. The computers were aimed at the U.S.S.R. educational market.
Some Japanese sources said there was not yet much success in this field for a variety of reasons, one of which is Western and Japanese restraints on selling certain advanced equipment and technology to Moscow.
But there is no doubt that the top Soviet trade officials as well as rank and file were greatly impressed by the equipment on display.
Practically everything the Japanese brought with them captured the attention of the visitors. (Some of the souvenirs from Nippon, like calendars with nubile women, were an instant success.)
Hiroshi Anzai, chairman of the Japan-U.S.S.R. Committee on Economic Cooperation, was quoted as saying that the purpose of the Moscow show was not only to acquaint the Soviet people with Japan's achievements, but also to prepare the ground for further expansion of Japanese-Soviet trade.
In this regard Western sources believe, Japan's exhibition was a resounding success.