Tokyo bows to US pressure on trade

TOKYO - Hoping to break a six-week stalemate in trade talks with the United States, Japan yesterday announced a market-opening package carefully crafted to answer US demands, but leaving many details undecided.

But in Washington the US trade representative, Mickey Kantor, rejected Japan's proposal yesterday as a 'half-finished work' that did not meet President Bill Clinton's concerns.

Mr Kantor said, however: 'Our door is opened and we are prepared to work with our ally with this.'

Japan pledged to make it easier for foreigners to win government contracts and to sell insurance here, both key US requests. It also said it would decide by June on specific plans to bring regulations and standards more in line with world norms, another move to ease the way for foreign sellers.

Two more Japanese car- makers - Honda and Mazda - announced separate plans yesterday to buy more foreign parts, joining Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi in responding to US calls for an improvement in the car-trade imbalance.

Masakazu Toyoda, director of the Trade Ministry's Americas division, had hoped the package would provide an opportunity to resume talks. Japan hopes the US will agree to resume stalled 'framework' trade talks, which broke down last month when the Prime Minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, refused a US demand that numerical targets be included in trade agreements to measure their success.

Japan says such targets violate free trade. In yesterday's package, it agreed to go half way, saying it would gather sales volume and data on efforts by both Japanese and foreign companies to boost sales of foreign cars and parts in Japan, and 'take appropriate measures as necessary'.

Mr Hosokawa telephoned President Bill Clinton, on holiday in San Diego, and told him the package represented Japan's 'best possible efforts', officials said.

During the telephone conversation Mr Clinton expressed his condolences on the death of two students, shot by somebody who stole their car in a Los Angeles supermarket car-park.

The 19-year-olds - Japanese-born Takuma Ito and Go Matsuura, a US citizen who grew up in Japan - were film students at an arts school. They died on Sunday, two days after being shot. Ito's car was found a short distance from the supermarket.

According to Mr Ellers, the President expressed his 'condolence and sadness' over the shooting.

Tokyo said the regulatory reforms would focus on communications, retailing, pharmaceuticals, food and other markets. While making it easier for foreign companies to enter Japanese markets, the reforms are also essential for stimulating Japan's slumping economy and allowing new industries to emerge. Japan also announced yesterday that it was suspending a 13-year-old ceiling on car exports to the US because export volumes have fallen far below the limit in recent years, while production has risen at Japanese car plants in the US.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot