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And what about the Japanese?

Most talk about foreign investment today concerns the Japanese. In the '70s, one could easily have substituted the word ``Arab'' for ``Japanese.''

But the Arabs and the Japanese have never been the biggest foreign owners of America.

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Right now, for example, the British are No. 1, followed by the Dutch. Japan is No. 3 and has only just recently slipped ahead of Canada.

Americans don't worry much about British, Dutch, or Canadian ownership. Why are they bothered by the Japanese?

Experts suspect there is a component of racism at work here. When the new buyers look European, there's little concern. When their complexions have color, when their backgrounds are not Judeo-Christian, and when their histories have been in conflict with the US - it's another story.

Will they understand the American way? Will they be normal employers? Will foreign owners somehow undermine US foreign policy?

``There's a lot of huffing and puffing when it comes to non-Anglos,'' says Earl Fry, a Brigham Young University professor who has studied foreign investment for 10 years. ``The Japanese are very sensitive to this.''

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