Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca has fired another salvo in his feud with a Japanese politician, whom he has accused of arrogance and bashing America.
"I put (Shintaro) Ishihara in the class of, to be polite, reactionaries," Iacocca said in an interview published in Playboy magazine's January issue. "Everybody has his share of loose cannons and he's a loose cannon."Iacocca's comments, released Saturday, came in the magazine where in October Ishihara called the U.S. auto executive "irresponsible, incompetent, dirty dealing."
"I'm not going to call him names," Iacocca said. "I could call him better names than that. They'd be dirty, but more original."
The feud between the two blunt-speaking men broke out after publication in Japan of the book "The Japan That Can Say No," by Ishihara and Sony Corp. co-founder Akio Morita. Ishihara, 57, is a filmmaker and award-winning writer as well as a member of the Japanese parliament.
An unauthorized translation of the book was entered into the Congressional Record by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., and became a target for criticism, and of Pentagon and congressional scrutiny.
The collection of speeches by Ishihara and Morita has sold more than a million copies in Japan, but it has been attacked in the United States as an example of America-bashing.
Ishihara told Playboy in October that the book's unofficial translation contains misinterpretations and distortions, adding: "I plan to publish an accurate, formal version, which is now being prepared."
At the time, Iacocca said Ishihara's and Morita's "arrogance pours salt into an already open wound."
Ishihara said in the interview that Iaccoca used Japan as a scapegoat for his own inadequacies as an industrialist.
Last summer, Iacocca went on a six-city U.S. tour showing off Chrysler's products and taking swipes at the Japanese government.