WASHINGTON (AP) - President Reagan and Japanese Prime Minister
Yasuhiro Nakasone meet this week, eager to defuse an explosive trade
dispute and demonstrate that relations between the world's commercial
giants are fundamentally friendly.
According to U.S. policymakers preparing for Nakasone's
three-day visit here, the Reagan administration hopes the talks will
depress, not stimulate, Capitol Hill sentiment for tough new
economic measures against Japan.
``I think the tune that's going to be played is that we want to
resolve our differences with Japan and show that we can't allow
trade friction to risk affecting the broader ranges of our
relationship,'' said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of
This view was shared Sunday by Nobuo Matsunaga, the Japanese
ambassador to the United States. Appearing on the ABC-TV's ``This
Week with David Brinkley,'' he said relations between Japan and the
United States are ``basically sound and strong.''
And in Hashikojima, Japan, Hajime Tamure, Japan's minister of
international trade and industry, said his country must take action
if it is to keep world confidence.
``Having confidence is very serious, and if we have a government
policy, it must be accompanied by action,'' he said.
U.S. Special Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter, interviewed
from Tokyo on NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' said he's been pleased with
talks held with Japanese officials.
``I'm convinced that some things of a very positive vein are
beginning to happen in Japan on the trade front, and I hope you will
see some evidence of that in the next few days,'' Yeutter said.
Nakasone arrives in Washington on Wednesday, sees Reagan at the
White House on Thursday and Friday, and holds talks with other
administration officials and members of Congress before leaving on
Never before at the leaders' meetings - this will be their 11th
- have tensions between the two countries been so high.
After years of complaints and threats about an imbalance in
trade that hit $54.6 billion in Japan's favor last year, Reagan has
imposed tarriffs on electronic goods that earned $300 million for
Japan last year.
Since then, however, the Reagan administration has gone out of
its way to portray the sanctions as a specific remedy and not a
reversal of a White House disdain for congressional moves toward
The administration also was quick to attack a proposal by Rep.
Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., to require countries to reduce large
trade surpluses with the United States by 10 percent a year.
The New York Times reported today that the Reagan administration
will take the conciliatory approach one step further. …