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In talks with U.S., Japan can’t make concessions that run counter to national interests: Motegi

  • August 4, 2018
  • , Nikkei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

On a new Japan-U.S. dialogue that will begin on August 9 to realize “free, fair and reciprocal” trade, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Toshimitsu Motegi noted that Japan “prepares various scenarios for discussions with the U.S.” With U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer looking to call on Japan to start talks on a Japan-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA), Motegi said that Japan will make a decision after hearing U.S. requests.


As it is anticipated that the U.S. will demand Japan lower tariffs on farm produce, Motegi indicated wariness by saying that “apparently there is a line that Japan can’t cross, and we won’t be able to win the domestic understanding if we clinch a deal that runs counter to our national interests.”


Motegi noted that the Japanese government will “hold in-depth discussions with the U.S.” to avert auto tariff increases being mulled by U.S. President Donald Trump. He stressed that the Japanese government “will reiterate the significant contributions that Japanese firms are making in the U.S. job market.”


Regarding the Japan-U.S. relationship, he noted that “with the North Korean situation undergoing drastic changes, the Japan-U.S. alliance is becoming more important than ever. “We must avoid the option of locking horns with each other on the economic front,” he said. He emphasized that “all things will be decided in talks with Mr. Lighthizer” and showed a willingness to clinch an early deal. 

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