Several thousand comments have been posted on social media in response to President Trump’s remarks about Japan’s auto trade, with an overwhelming number of Twitter and other social media users apparently disapproving of his view by saying it is reminiscent of the 1980s, when Japan logged a huge trade surplus with the U.S. Many of them argue that there is currently no problem with domestic legal regulations and other practices in terms of restricting American auto imports, pointing out the absence of import tariffs on foreign cars and the robust sales enjoyed for many years by a number of German and other European makers. They call on the Big Three to renew their efforts to market their products by manufacturing smaller cars with right-side steering wheels. The following message perhaps represents the prevailing sentiment among Japanese about the President’s remarks: “It’s wrong to force Japanese to adjust their preferences to American products. Instead, U.S. companies should try to customize their products to meet the needs of local users.”
However, some Twitter users have shared an op-ed written for Yahoo! Japan News by auto analyst Mitsuhiro Kunizawa, in which he urges the GOJ to eliminate barriers to U.S. auto imports. He insists that Japan still maintains regulations and rules on emissions, lights, ignition keys, and other components that prevent “attractive” American vehicles, such as camping cars and pickup trucks, from being imported. The analyst explains that it would probably cost Japanese importers thousands of dollars per unit to replace some components of imported models with those that comply with local regulations.