All Tuesday evening papers wrote that the Trump administration notified Congress on Monday that it has reached an initial trade agreement with Japan on tariff barriers and that it will be signed in the coming weeks. The President also said that the two nations have also reached an agreement on digital trade. Nikkei wrote the President said in a letter to Congress that he intends to continue to engage in comprehensive trade negotiations with Japan. The paper speculated that the Trump administration is planning to address non-tariff barriers in the second stage of bilateral negotiations.
The papers quoted Foreign Minister Motegi as telling reporters on Tuesday that the United States is expected to prepare a document pledging that it will not impose additional tariffs on Japanese auto imports based on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act and that he wants to confirm this with the United States during the finishing stages of their trade negotiations. Nikkei and Yomiuri wrote that Finance Minister Aso told reporters on Tuesday that a currency clause is unlikely to be included in the U.S.-Japan trade agreement to be signed in late September.
Most national dailies ran follow-up reports on Wednesday morning. Asahi wrote that Tokyo is asking Washington to reduce the annual cap on tariff-free U.S. rice exports to below the 70,000 tons agreed upon during the TPP negotiations and that Washington has shown understanding for Japan’s request. Speculating that the United States will probably only partially heed Japan’s request for a reduction of tariffs on auto imports, the paper described Tokyo’s request regarding rice as an attempt to offset its “defeat” in auto trade. Yomiuri conjectured that Washington and Tokyo will likely confirm the agreement reached in September 2018 that the United States will not impose punitive duties on Japanese autos while the two nations are engaged in trade negotiations.