HERE is a Japanese view of the U.S.-Japan trade imbalance...

Salmagundi

July 13, 1993

HERE is a Japanese view of the U.S.-Japan trade imbalance from an editorial in Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo:

". . . In the American car market, Ford's Taurus has taken over the position of the best-selling car from Honda's Accord.

"The American cars, whose producer took a page out of the book on Japanese-style business management, became competitive with Japanese cars in terms of both quality and price and the market share of Japanese cars has been steadily declining.

"On top of that, the yen has become stronger since the beginning of the year. The export of cars to the United States is ceasing to be profitable.

"The prevailing situation in the Japanese automotive industry, the biggest earner of our trade surplus with the United States, demonstrates that the right road to rectifying trade imbalances is for American industry to obtain a competitive edge and take advantage of changes in prices through changes in the exchange rate.

"There have also been some signs of change in the Japanese market, which foreign traders suspect of being murky and unfair. The end of one-party rule by the Liberal Democratic Party cannot fail to bring about changes in the cozy relations among the politicians, bureaucrats and business. The recent announcement by the Construction Ministry to adopt qualified competitive bidding for some public works projects is not wholly unrelated to the turbulent political situation . . ."

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