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During his visit to Japan this week, U.S. President Donald Trump complained about the trade imbalance between Japan and the U.S. He said while many Japanese automobiles are sold in the United States, virtually no cars go from the United States into Japan. Why do you think this is?


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Japan protected its domestic market and sold products all over the world. The US allowed that, because of the Cold War.

The Cold War may have ended in Europe, but its still going on in East Asia.

And so, the US continues to tolerate Japan's protectionist policies.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It is pure ignorance by Trump of the 90,000 American who work for Japanese auto makers.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

American cars once dominated the market, japanese companies started to make better cars, american companies never caught up. Simple.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As pointed out above, Japanese auto makers (and Korean auto makers) employ 10's of thousands in the U.S. How this fact can be ignored is beyond me.

I was in Europe a couple of months ago and drove in 3 different countries. There were numerous U.S. made autos (as well as European, Japanese, etc.) on the road.

American companies did make better cars, the Japanese cars surpassed American cars in quality, etc. I believe American cars have caught up again.

Japan does still protect its market, rightfully so in my opinion. Most other countries would (and should) do the same, at least to some degree.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are American car dealerships here in Tokyo, and I assume that they are selling American cars, right? So US automakers are in Japan. They just don't put any energy into selling cars and don't make cars Japanese like. Lee Iaccoca, when president of Chrysler, once said that US automakers don't have to make cars for the Japanese market, and Japanese would buy American cars just for the prestige of driving an American car. Even if the steering wheel is on the wrong side. Never mind safety. Well, how is that working out?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japanese buy many German's cars in Japan. Why not buy American cars? because not very inerested in American cars. Never seen any commerical advertisements of GM, Ford,,,,except German cars. Japan takes no tariff on American cars but US takes tariff on Japanese cars.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

About 300,000 European cars are sold in Japan each year. One very popular maker is Fiat, the owner of Chrysler. So why don't they sell more Chryslers here?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oft ill-informed man, especially when it comes to foreign manufacturers of automobiles.


The quality (for the most part) of Japanese cars is superior to US efforts. That wasn't always the case, sure but this is now.

Have you driven a goshdarn Ford lately?

1 ( +2 / -1 )


Have an F150 in the U.S. that I drive when I am back there. Granted a pickup truck like the F150 is most likely not practical in Japan, my truck in the U.S. has over 200k miles on it and runs great. Have had no problems with it whatsoever. My cousin has a Toyota Tacoma which has given him quite a bit of grief. Granted this is for trucks only....not sure if the same holds true to passenger cars.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of cars in 2016:

Germany: US$151.9 billion (21.8% of total car exports)

Japan: $91.9 billion (13.2%)

United States: $53.8 billion (7.7%)

Canada: $48.8 billion (7%)

United Kingdom: $41.3 billion (5.9%)

South Korea: $37.5 billion (5.4%)

Spain: $35.6 billion (5.1%)

Mexico: $31.4 billion (4.5%)

Belgium: $30.3 billion (4.3%)

Czech Republic: $18.8 billion (2.7%)

France: $18.4 billion (2.6%)

Slovakia: $15.5 billion (2.2%)

Italy: $15.2 billion (2.2%)

Thailand: $11.6 billion (1.7%)

Hungary: $11.1 billion (1.6%)

When Trump says "virtually no cars go from the United States into Japan" does he mean that no cars are exported to Japan, even those made in Japanese factories in the USA?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese cars are more reliable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One word: Q U A L I T Y

1 ( +1 / -0 )

virtually no cars go from the United States into Japan. Why do you think this is?

Probably the same reason so few cars go from the United States to Europe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the UK Japanese cars are recognised as the best ...far better than the US or Germany ...in fact I am about to buy one

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japanese carmakers are responsible for over 1.4 million jobs in the US, not tens of thousands.

Japanese carmakers export more cars from factories in the US then are imported from Japan. Japanese car factories in the US are net exporters.

Japan has no tariff on car imports and the first 50,000 of a model can be imported to Japan without any government testing. All Japanese cars must be tested in the US, costing Japanese carmakers millions of dollars per year.

The US has a tariff on all imported cars. Pickup trucks have a 50% tariff to protect US companies.

Japanese roads are filled with Mercedes, BMW's, Audis and VW's.

Would Americans buy Japanese cars if the steering wheel was on the right, the radio frequency was different, the language on the dash was in Japanese, there was no network for service, etc?

Japanese carmakers design and build cars in the US for US tastes. US built cars simply don't suit the sense of style or usability for Japan.

Trump is ignorant.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

domtoidi - all good points - some additional thoughts

If you consider the entire supply chain (i.e. companies like Denso, Hayashi Telempu, etc. etc. , etc.) then you are right the figure is above 1 million. Also again another good point about more Japanese cars in the U.S. are made in the U.S. than are made in Japan.

Regarding allowing 50,000 cars to be imported to Japan without testing? That would be one thing where I would think Japan should be a bit stricter. Japan's safety standards are weak (in spite of what international perception is). I think we are all aware of this and we are constantly reminded of this every other month or so.

Regarding testing - In the U.S. all Japanese AND all U.S. cars must be tested (this regulation applies to all car manufacturers, regardless of whether they are a U.S. manufacturer or not).

Actually the most pertinent point in all of this is your last sentence (before the Trump comment). U.S. manufacturers simply do not compromise enough when sending cars to Japan and do not produce cars suitable for use here.

In spite of what Trump says (and yes he is ignorant on this issue...he is a real estate man..that is all) U.S. companies make a conscious choice not to produce cars for Japan as they see the cost of manufacturing the vehicles to suit the tastes of people in Japan as being too high relative to the return (i.e. the size of the market vs. the size of the global market). Right or wrong that is the bottom line and Trump cannot and will not be able to change this. He makes himself look foolish when he talks on this subject.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think the suspicious one is that you don't see many Korean cars in Japan. They are competitive in the UK car market. Since Japanese people seem happy to buy Korean smartphones and tvs, I guess this has to do with the extensive infrastructure required to sell cars in a foreign market, and the lack of prestige Korean cars have vs. cars from European manufacturers. These will also be a factor for US cars.

I have heard Japanese people tell me they drive a foreign car because they hate all the buttons on a Japanese dashboard. A Japanese climate control may have a dozen buttons, while a foreign one will have two or three and a big dial or slider. It is far more intuitive.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good article here that puts the truth somewhere in between, painting Trump in a somewhat less bad light.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

So Trump told Japanese carmakers to build cars in the US? They do, for Go'ds sake.

No America carmaker has a factory in Japan.

Trump should just shut the hell up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, I'd say the main reason is that in most fields Japanese cars are just plain better (not all, but most). There still are protectionist issues, though, and the mentality that Japanese things are superior. I can say most cars in Japan are superior for Japanese streets, but that's from having experienced both. But most Japanese I know say the cars are better just because they are Japanese, and that is a small part of the other reason why American cars are very few and far between here. This rings true beyond cars, like with American beef. If you cut up a slice and injected it with fat (like Osaka restaurants did a year and half back) and told them it was Japanese beef, they'd love it and say it was amazing, but say it was inferior if you told them it was American. Wouldn't matter if it actually was or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Although Japan has no tariffs on imported cars, Japanese bureaucrats tend to be obstructive and awkwark in my experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese cars are all over the world. Japan no longer has a 'war machine' or an industrial military complex since war is renounced forever in the constitution. However, look at pictures in magazines at all the scenes of guerilla wars - Indonesia, Zaire, Somalia, Haiti, Palestine, Iraq - you will see trucks with backflaps saying Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and some Chevys and Fords jigged-up with rocket launchers mounted on truck beds. ISIS is using foreign-made vehicles, many made by Japanese firms and rigged up for war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

U.S. President Donald Trump ........Why do you think this is?


Seriously though... I actually like some of the American cars but really only the classics like the Vettes and Mustangs etc, the collectibles and hobby cars... for an everyday machine the American cars don't have the appeal. Maybe the majority of others feel the same?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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