Predicting Outcomes in United States-Japan Trade Negotiations: The Political Process of the Structural Impediments Initiative

Synopsis

The U.S.-Japan Structural Impediments Initiative (SII) was an attempt in which U.S. and Japanese officials tried to solve trade frictions and adjust their economic systems both by creating an international epistemic community and regime and by accelerating domestic structural change through a joint bureaucratic structure (working group) and mutual pressure. With four multidimensionally-layered conceptual models, the book systematically describes and explains the political process of the SII, the reasons for its initiation and reaching agreements. Unlike most studies on U.S.-Japan trade negotiations which use the theoretically undefined case study method, the author tested propositions focussing on different factors (level of U.S. pressure, size and strength of various transgovernmental coalitions, and level of perception gaps) for different degrees of Japanese trade concessions across five SII issue areas (saving-investment patterns, the distribution system, exclusionary business practices, land policy, and,keiretsu) by combining a detailed case study with content analysis of newspaper indexes and meeting records. The book adds to the tradition of U.S.-Japan trade negotiation/decision-making research with great insights and practical implications. It further develops Graham Allison's approach, applying it to international trade negotiation process, thereby enhancing the power of describing, explaining, and predicting outcomes of international trade negotiations. Intended for graduate students and specialists studying U.S.-Japan trade negotiations as well as policymakers practicing such negotiations.