TOKYO — In these difficult times, most Japanese can't decide whether their economic glass is half full or half empty, all of which adds up to discouraging news for automotive marketers. Domestic car sales dropped 9% to 4,093,148 units in 1998, despite widespread discounting, with significant improvement in 1999 foreseen only by confirmed optimists. Japan's worst postwar recession has sapped consumer confidence. People are so nervous these days about what may be coming next that they're ...

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