Jurors’ Attitudes Toward Japanese Corporations

Products and companies from Japan have had a substantial impact on the American Economy and consumers, but does our embrace of Japanese products have implications for our opinions of Japanese corporations?  Can American jurors impartially assess a case involving a foreign corporation?  Or will they instead exhibit in-group bias in favor of an American plaintiff?   We measured mock juror attitudes toward Japan, Japanese products, and Japanese safety standards and also developed mechanisms to help predict characteristics shared by jurors most likely to exhibit bias against Japanese defendants.  Our surveys and research show that a Japanese corporate defendant will most likely face a jury pool with a large group of “moveable middles,” and while they may be initially neutral in voir dire, a small group of those may begin to lean toward negative attitudes about Japanese products or companies.  Our research and experience in how these attitudes can shape jurors’ perceptions are of value and insightful for these Japanese corporate defendants litigating in the United States.

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