The role of trust in US-Japanese food-grade soybean transactions
This paper aims to identify essential factors for successful relationships between US soybean suppliers and Japanese soybean distributors in the food-grade soybean trade. The general characteristics of food-grade soybean transactions are described in the first half of this paper using the information obtained from previous literature and personal interviews with US soybean suppliers, Japanese soybean distributors, and other people involved in the food-grade soybean trade. Case study analysis of food-grade soybean transactions is carried out in the latter half of this paper. Through the analysis, it is found that longstanding relationships between US suppliers and Japanese distributors are common. It is argued that trust of Japanese distributors in their US suppliers may be playing an important role for maintaining successful relationships in food-grade soybean transactions, essentially reducing transaction costs occurring in the transactions. It is also argued that trust may be fostered through both calculative and non-calculative processes. Through the analysis, hypotheses on the role of trust and the development process of trust in food-grade soybean transactions are refined and suggested to further research in the future.