In my mailbox not long ago, an envelope arrived from Obun Intereurope Ltd. of Tokyo - a survey of what the company labels as ''American opinion on US-Japan automobile trade.''
What it shows is the sensitivity of the Japanese auto industry to continuing criticism of its success in the United States and concern about what might happen if US domestic-content legislation ever makes it into law.
Perhaps the Monitor's readers, many of them also well aware of what is at stake as the US auto industry reels under the heavy influx of import pressure, notably from the Japanese, would like to take the quiz themselves. We'd like to get your views on this important subject.
Send your answers to the Automotive Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.
* Do you feel that Japanese automobile imports are contributing to the high rate of unemployment in the United States: Yes No
* What factors do you feel have led to the crisis facing the American automobile industry? Please number the following from the most important to the least important:
''Poor'' planning and management by the US automobile industry Higher labor costs in the US ''Unfair'' foreign competition US government ''meddling'' in the auto industry Changing preferences of US consumers Other (explain)
* Do you (or members of your family) own and drive a Japanese car? Yes No
* In terms of workmanship, fuel economy, and safety, how do you rate Japanese cars in comparison with American-made cars? Workmanship Fuel economy Safety Vastly superior Vastly superior Vastly superior Superior Superior Superior Much better Much better Much better About the same About the same About the same Poor Poor Poor Very poor Very poor Very poor
* Are you aware of the fact that sales of American-made cars in Japan have recently been on the decline? Yes No
* Do you think the United States should take steps to require Japan to import more American-made cars? Yes No
* What factors do you feel are contributing to the poor sales performance of American-made cars in Japan? Please rank in order of importance. Inadequate marketing efforts by US manufacturers Import taxes on automobiles High tariffs Nontariff barriers (i.e., slow inspection procedures in Japan, Japan's multi-layered distribution system, or consumers' ''buy Japanese'' mentality) The unsuitability of American-made cars for the Japanese market (i.e., in terms of size, design, and fuel economy The low level of overall growth in new-car sales in Japan Other
* Do you think Japan is making enough of an effort to encourage automobile imports? Yes No
* Do you think the United States should take steps to limit imports of Japanese cars? Yes No
* How would you evaluate the American public's understanding of the US-Japan automobile trade issue? Nonexistent Limited Aware of the issue, but weak on details Well informed
* Overall opinion and general comments about US-Japan automobile trade? (Use a separate sheet of paper)