US- Japan Economic Problems

  • Shinichi Ichimura


The problems between the United States and Japan in the fields of trade and defense have not changed fundamentally from the excellent summary in a prepared statement submitted to the US Congress on March 1, 1982, by John H. Holdridge, the then-US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. I find myself basically in agreement with his assessment of the situation and with his recommendations relating to the directions and speed of policies to be implemented then. The climate of argument and the domestic politics that surround these issues in Japan have also been well conveyed to Congress by excellent testimonies such as those of Professor Gerald L. Curtis and others, while an interesting summary of the historical evolution of US-Japan relations, as seen by an American diplomat, was provided by Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson in his submission. Given an understanding of the economic problems by members of the US Congress and Japanese Diet and by the general public, a reasonable solution of them should not be too difficult. In reality, however, much of the strain in US-Japan relations arises from misunderstandings and from the political implications of economic issues, as well as from the different styles of the two countries in their approaches toward solving the conflicts. This chapter tries to show the common interests and values which unite the two countries despite obvious social and cultural differences. It then analyzes the problems that exist, and finally, on the basis of this analysis, offers views as to how present and future conflicts between the United States and Japan might be resolved.1


Asian Development East Asian Economy Merchandise Trade United Auto Worker Danger Point 
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  1. 1.
    This chapter is based on S. Ichimura, US-Japan Economic Problems, Security Conference On Asia and the Pacific, Marina del Rey, CA, April, 1983. I believe that the argument in this essay is fundamentally right even as late as 1998. It is reproduced, however, with necessary modifications due to a number of changes in the international relations since then. References in the introductory remark are: 1) John H. Holdridge, Prepared Statement for the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 1, 1982; 2) Gerald L. Curtis, Prepared Statement for the above Subcommittee March 17, 1982; Congressional Research Service, Japan-US Trade Relations, January 1982; 3) U. Alexis Johnson, Prepared Statement for the above Subcommittee M 17, 1982. March. See also Chapter 6 and Chapter 8 and 9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Chapter 8 and 9 on Industrial Policy and the references given there.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Counter-Cyclical policies should be distinguished from the medium-term direction of policies. The argument here is concerned with the latter. In the late part of the 90’s, the extremely easy money policy is adopted only for the emergency measures to overcome the post-bubble depression.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Extremely low interest rates in Japan in 1997 and 98 arc special conditions to deal with the difficulties of financial system in the post-bubble years. It will be remedied in a few years. Yet the interest rates gap between the US and Japan will remain so long as the US needs capital import.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shinichi Ichimura
    • 1
  1. 1.International Center for the Study of East Asian DevelopmentKokurakita, Kitakyushu, FukuokaJapan

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