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During the Korean War, Nissan was a major vehicle producer for the U. S. Army. After the Korean War ended, significant levels of anti-communist sentiment existed in Japan. The union that organized Nissan's workforce was strong and militant. Nissan was in financial difficulties, and when wage negotiations came, the company took a hard line. Workers were locked out, and several hundred were fired. The Japanese government and the U. S. occupation forces arrested several union leaders. The union ran out of strike funds, and was defeated. A new labor union was formed, with Shioji Ichiro one of its leaders. Ichiro had studied at Harvard University on a U. S. government scholarship. He advanced an idea to trade wage cuts against saving 2,000 jobs. Ichiro's idea was made part of a new union contract that prioritized productivity. Between 1955 and 1973, Nissan "expanded rapidly on the basis of technical advances supported – and often suggested – by the union. " Ichiro became president of the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers Unions and "the most influential figure in the right wing of the Japanese labor movement. "

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