11-10-2004, 01:00 PM #1
made in the USA ...OR... made in the U.S.A.
Had a discussion with one of our senior guys the other day at the firehouse. I forgot how the conversation started out but somehow we got on the topic of 'made in the USA'. He stated that if a product was really made in the United States of America, it was written 'made in the U.S.A.' If there were no periods at the end of each letter, the product was made in Usa Japan!
So, I did a little internet research, here is what I came up with...
The below article is from:
(there is picture that is not included in theis post)
Since it would be a bit difficult to get there by train, why would a Japanese town have a train station with the sign "USA" in front of it?
There's a perfectly legitimate reason: The city's name is Usa.
Located on the island of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four large islands, Usa is a town of about 50,000 population. The name doesn't sound that odd in context of some other cities in the area, including Ota, Aya, Tano, Saga and Ozu. And, for the record, at least two U.S. states (Pennsylvania and Missouri) have communities named "Japan."
But back to Usa. The city has long been the subject of rumors that claimed the following: The original town where Usa now stands was destroyed by U.S. bombs during World War II. The city was rebuilt and given a new name, Usa, so that it could "legitimately" export products to America with labels that said "Made in USA." Many Japanese manufacturers opened offices and factories in the new town so that they could claim the benefits of being able to advertise that they had offices or manufacturing facilities in "USA."
According to information available at snopes.com and in The Big Book of Big Secrets by William Poundstone, this urban legend couldn't be more untrue.
The town was not destroyed during World War II, and was known as Usa long before the war broke out (in fact, it's home to one of Japan's oldest shrines). Products imported to America from the town could not have had a "Made in USA" label, since such labels were required to state the country of origin, not the city.
If, in fact, any products made in the city were slapped with "Made in USA" labels, this was done to sell the items in Japan, not to export them to other countries. American-made products — even electronics — were widely considered superior to Japanese products at that time.
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11-16-2004, 10:38 AM #2
11-16-2004, 11:46 AM #3
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I thought the same thing yesterday ...
Claim: Japan renamed a town 'Usa' so that they could legitimately stamp their exports 'Made in USA.'
Origins: In the years after World War II, Japan, whose anufacturing capabilities had been almost completely wiped out by Allied bombing, attempted to rebuild both their economy and their industrial base by producing large quantities of inexpensive goods and exporting them to America and other countries. (The USA was the primary market, however, since it emerged from the war with a robust economy and had no damaged infrastructure to rebuild.) The phrase "Made in Japan" came to symbolize cheap, shoddy goods to Americans, and eventually the rumor arose that Japan had sought to avoid this stigma by deviously renaming one of its towns "Usa" so it could identify its products as being "Made in USA."
This rumor was almost certainly a tongue-in-cheek joke inspired by someone's noticing the coincidence of a town in Japan named Usa (and perhaps fueled by American xenophobia or lingering resentment of the Japanese). In fact, the Japanese city of Usa (on the island of Kyushu) was not creating by renaming an existing town; it was called Usa long before World War II. As well, nearly every country that imports goods requires them to be marked with the name of their country of origin, not a town or city, and it would have taken some circuitous (and probably expensive) routing to get goods marked "Made in USA" into other countries without anyone's noticing that they had originated in Japan. America, especially, Japan's largest market by far, would certainly have noticed the incongruity of goods marked "Made in USA" being imported into the USA.
Of course, the idea that the U.S. Customs Department would simply shrug at Japanese products marked "Made in USA," despite the confusion they would obviously cause, simply because they were "legitimately" identified as coming from the Japanese city of Usa is just silly. Lest anyone think that U.S. Customs inspectors were lax about enforcing the rules or willing to look the other way, consider the following difficulty Sony experienced with them as late as 1969 when Sony tried to downplay the fact that their products were Japanese in origin:
. . . despite the Japanese flag flying on Fifth Avenue, most consumers, including actual customers, remained unaware that Sony was a Japanese company. Morita [President of Sony Sales] was uneasy about the possibility of a negative reaction, and did what he could to sustain the misapprehension. The required "Made in Japan" label, for example, was positioned on the product as inconspicuously as possible, in the smallest permissible size; and more than once, Sony edged below the minimum, causing U.S. Customs inspectors to turn back shipments.
A notable exception to the USA's import laws is the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which is allowed to use the "Made in USA" label on their products and export them to the USA duty-free. Legislation was introduced in Congress to close this loophole (also known as the "Saipan Scam") in 1999, but it died in committee.
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