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Experts discuss U.S.-Japan trade, DPRK

On NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show, six scholars discussed U.S.-Japan trade and the DPRK. Concerning U.S.-Japan trade, Chubu University Professor Masahiko Hosokawa speculated that the Trump administration is hoping to set quantitative restrictions on auto imports from Japan and urge Japan to lower tariffs on American farm imports. The METI bureaucrat-turned scholar expressed the view that it will be impossible for Japan to accept quantitative restrictions on auto imports, but may be possible to discuss tariffs as a reciprocal issue. He added that as a final “exit,” it may be difficult for Washington and Tokyo to implement tariff cuts unless they choose the form of an FTA.

 

Former Vice Foreign Minister and Ritsumeikan University Visiting Professor Mitoji Yabunaka expressed the view that direct talks between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will be important for trade negotiations between the United States and Japan and that it will probably be necessary for Japan to broadly discuss bilateral trade by explaining Japan’s procurement of defense equipment and energy from the United States.

 

Keio University Professor Yasushi Watanabe conjectured that the United States will probably urge Japan to make concessions on agricultural trade because President Trump is hoping to justify his decision to withdraw from the TPP by saying that the deal he makes on farm trade with Japan is better than the TPP.

 

Tokyo University Professor Masahiro Kohara, Waseda University Professor Lee Jong Won, and Japan Institute of International Affairs Visiting Scholar Toshiya Tsugami participated in discussions on the DPRK. Lee and other discussants welcomed the recent inter-Korean summit by saying it has boosted momentum toward the possible resumption of U.S.-DPRK talks. Yabunaka emphasized that it is important to verify the DPRK’s steps to denuclearize.

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