The divergent and disparate comments by American and Japanese businessmen in "Trading Places" (Face-to-Face, July) reflect reality. What the growing American company faces in the Japanese market is opportunity and difficulty combined -- in unfamiliar territory.

My experience as head of a small company exporting to Japan in the 1970s was very positive.We had little difficulty forming a joint venture and two wholly owned subsidiaries in Japan. We found no evidence of attempts by the Japanese government to exclude our products, although learning to deal with the intricacies of Japanese distribution channels and marketing methods was quite a challenge. More recently, a small client company started a subsidiary in Japan; it soon grew as large as its parent. Northern Telecom a Canadian company has reported that it took no longer to get its products accepted by NNT in Japan than by AT&T here in the United States.

Learning to do business successfully in Japan is not easy, but those who turn their backs on Japan do so at their peril.