Trade threat

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The Independent Online
IMPORTANT trade talks between the US and Japan, as well as next month's G7 meeting in Tokyo, could be jeopardised by the political crisis that has engulfed Japan over the past week. For trading partners trying to get Japan to open its markets and stimulate its sluggish economy, Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa's defeat in a no-confidence motion on Friday is especially bad news.

For months, Japan has been laying the groundwork for the 7-9 July summit. It has been working hard to stake out its positions in such a way as to avoid bruising confrontations.