All national papers reported extensively on Japan’s ratification of the U.S-Japan trade agreements yesterday following the passage of relevant legislation by the Upper House. The dailies focused on the GOJ’s failure to present evidence that the Trump administration is committed to removing the existing tariff on Japanese auto imports in the future.
The papers projected that although Japan is set to press the U.S. to eliminate the present auto tariff, this is unlikely to happen while President Trump is in office. They voiced concern that the U.S. leader may press Tokyo to further reduce its tariffs on U.S. farm products by hinting at raising the auto tariff. Sankei said the Abe administration is not concerned about the opposition’s criticism that the U.S. has not agreed to remove the auto tariff because the Japanese auto industry’s priority was to head off additional tariffs.
Nikkei predicted that the second round of U.S.-Japan trade talks will not start until after the U.S. presidential election next fall. Sankei expressed the view that while Tokyo is still aiming to encourage Washington to return to the TPP framework, the prospects for such a scenario are bleak in view of the United States’ “America First” policy. Yomiuri wrote that since Japan is determined to pursue free trade amid rising protectionism around the world, its next focus will be to swiftly wrap up the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks with 15 other members.
The papers added that Japanese consumers are likely to benefit from the trade deal due to an anticipated drop in prices for American beef, pork, wine, and other items. Asahi, Yomiuri, and Sankei wrote that the Abe administration plans to expand support for domestic farmers who will be hit hard by a probable surge in American agricultural imports. The GOJ is expected to increase its funding for local farmers by focusing on their efforts to export products to the U.S. and other foreign markets.