Abe to meet Toyota CEO; Keidanren sets up Trump task force

By Yoshifumi Takemoto

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Let the spin begin!!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japanese media have begun reminiscing about the heated U.S.-Japan auto talks 20 years ago. A last-minute deal in June 1995 averted U.S. tariffs on Japanese luxury cars when Japan’s automakers crafted “voluntary plans” to boost purchases of American auto parts and expand production in the United States.

Yeah, but who can ever forget the Japanese dumping chips on the US market. Japan stands to lose a lot if it does not learn, right quick, to fair trade agreements.

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Ruuuuun...and quickly appease Trump so that he doesn't leave you hanging

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Actually this is a smart move by the Keidanren. Toyota has factories in the U.S. and as they have stated there is a supply chain which encompasses many more jobs. There are plenty of statistics as to why Trump's viewpoints towards Japan are both outdated and misguided (seems like he is caught in the 80's) and it would not be a bad idea to present the facts. At the same time Trump should do everything he can to encourage investment in the U.S.

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The best thing for Keidanren to do in the interests of Japan would be to disband itself. It is certainly no help to the people here. As for their task force, they are going to find nothing, and no amount of "Look at the papers we've printed for you and please, please cooperate!" is going to have any effect. Japan is finally going to see what happens when they fail to come up with new ideas and are not tolerated simply because they ask to be.

As for fair trade, there is absolutely no way that Trump would provide it. Japan effectively derailed the TPP by delaying its passage until they got what they wanted, and now the chickens are coming home to roost because they're not going to get anything -- any bilateral relationship is going to be 100% give from Japan more than it had planned, with things staying the same, at BEST, on the US side. People here have a right to be afraid -- in part it is their own fault; the protectionist measures that have been allowed to survive and uncompetitive farmers, etc. to survive should rightfully be at an end. No more exceptions for Japan. Now, it's also going to destroy the US, but that's another matter.

The thing is, you can't force people to buy American cars -- I never would -- but there are better ways Japan can present them as an alternative. I hope the agricultural sector gets a good shake up, though.

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very narrow roads in many neighborhoods

Funny you say that, just last week I was on one of these roads in a small neighborhood going downhill and almost got into two accidents within less than two minutes from these "minivan mamas", I call them, charging up hill. Some of these newer minivans are huge.

When I was shopping for a used car two years ago I almost bought a Ford Escape. Looked great, good price and everything. I couldn't pin down where the engine was built though, maybe Taiwan. Then I remembered back to that 1982 Ford EXP I owned and what a nightmare it was. Cracked aluminum heads twice. Ford never again, especially while in Japan with such great deals on OLD used cars.

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I would not go the meet, But yes set the braintrust, Wait to see what on the table, with having to go hat in hand. If it not the status quo, retreat with no answer. They have set up the table to win their favour. So don,t get into a rig game. Trump need to go to congress to show that he can make deals and to their favour. Don,t let him give Congress anything but the Excuitive Orders he had so far issued. He has gone all in on Mexico and put them out of the game for now. Just wait and don,t go, make him show his hand. You have to remember Congress has not show any sign of changing. Look at their first act. It was attempt to make it harder for Public scrutiny. Not to endorse Trump but protect their own seats.

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Trump still living in the late 80s/early 90s and has trouble updating his facts!!

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No idea why he's in such a hurry to meet Trump. With the TPP gone (at least in its present form) there seems to be only the possibility of Trump having a go at Japan for a perceived trade imbalance. I can't see anything positive for Japan coming out of this meeting...

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Trump still living in the 80s ?

I'd say he's still living in the late sixties when he was dodging Vietnam draft and catching venereal disease .

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Do not blame Trump, or America in general for these stricter controls. America has been a dumping ground for many countries becoming in dire financial straits. The Left wing fools who have had charge for too long have allowed too , . many liberties to be taken regarding trade and immigration. Matters must change - and this is something that Mr Trump is now going to attend to.

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With the DT attitude even fewer Japanese people will be inclined to buy American automobiles.

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In a caveat to my previous comment, I will state that European, and Japanese cars in particular, have shown the way forward in achieving high efficiency and practical size combined with comfort, looks and decent handling, America must forget her massive wide-road system and come to terms with the vastly different road systems of other countries. The days of the mobile juggernaut have long passed - apart from nostalgia - and Detroit, although coming to terms with thi, must accept in full the need for Japanese and European styling and technicalities.

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American cars are too large! Where would I park them? It is easy to import a US certified car into Japan and almost impossible to import a Japan certified car into America. The Ford 160 would not be able to drive down my current street! It would not be able to make turns. The problem is Americans do not make cars/trucks that Japanese want to buy!

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I'm glad the Japanese government realizes what a danger Tump is. I hope they get their act together and mount a response. But in the end, we should join the Chinese sphere of influence. America is the past, Asia is the future. Including India.

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the best thing about US-Japan FTA is that Japan will have to reduce tariffs on agriculture goods far lower than what was already agreed in the TPP. It comes down to just how bad Japan wants 0 tariffs on its good, and how much its prepared to sacrifice its inefficient agriculture sector . If I was in JA i wouldn't be sighing in relief that the TPP is dead , id be sweating a bilateral FTA with the US

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YuriOtani: "The problem is Americans do not make cars/trucks that Japanese want to buy!"

While that's true, it's not size that's the issue in most cases -- there are plenty of mini-vans and Japanese-made vehicles that are just as big, and have trouble fitting on the narrow roads.

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If I was in JA i wouldn't be sighing in relief that the TPP is dead , id be sweating a bilateral FTA with the US.

Good point. I think that 85% Japanese poll will be going down fast once they see their food prices drop. Went shopping today, ¥1000 for 6 apples, ¥200 for a quart of milk, ¥270 for 1/4 cup of sour cream, and I still can't understand why green onions or so expensive and so tasteless here. I don't eat the stuff but I also saw a 6oz cup corned beef hash for ¥350.

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But in the end, we should join the Chinese sphere of influence.

I think Japan should do the EXACT opposite! The Chinese sphere of influence is about copying creation,stealing intellectual rights, then branding the worlds knowledge as their own.

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American cars are too large!

Yes, I detested all those large American cars like the Nissan Elgrand, the Toyota Alphard! My goodness, when will those American companies learn to make cars for Yuri Otani's smaller Japanese streets?

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This is why I like Abe. He does his job.

Just wanted to say 2 things.

1) Japan will never join the "Chinese sphere of influence". If you understand the majority Japanese position joining Chinese line is unthinkable. Regardless of what, "Freedom, Democracy, Rule of Law" is not joke to us Japanese.

2) Trump should come to Japan's agriculture. That's where things are not fair. We Japanese tend to consider agriculture, especially rice, something more than just business but Japanese culture and even something religious. But that is not actually true. Today average age of Japanese in agriculture is over 60 y.o. because agriculture is a dirty tough job. Also, if agriculture is Japan's sanctuary, automotive industry should have been America's sanctuary. But US opend their market to Japan and Germany.

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Question for you folks still living in Japan - I know that Ford (at least) does a good business in Europe with their smaller roads and higher gas prices, are those models not sold in Japan (or is it as one of the posters mentioned the lack of service centers etc. (or prior bad experiences with 80's American brands))? Also, has anyone seen Hyundais there (I didn't in my last visit) but there are tons where I live in the states, Lord knows Korea had small roads when I was there way back when.

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Question for you folks still living in Japan

Im not in Tokyo. I've never seen a Ford commercial on TV. I've only seen one Ford dealership, smaller city, and it's gone now. I see Ford Escapes about once every 3 months. Others can tell you more than I can about the non-tarrif barriers.

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Living in Fukuoka for 12 years, Ford and other US automotive manufactures have done absolutely no effort at all to sell their cars.

Japan and Germany worked hard for decades so that to sell their cars in America, during which time, what effort US did? I have seen none. In Japan I've seen a lot of effort German companies made. but zero of American companies.

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Thanks for the comments Fizz and JJ

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Here Here.

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Regarding TPP Renegotiation, these are my thoughts (I do not represent any government):

I disagree with most of the points for this effort:

The USA will not join into something that Japan spearheads alone, when USA is not included from the start. Thus, it is foolish to believe that if Japan leads a TPP-Light renegotiation, that USA would later join. The world does not work that way. The minute that Japan attempts to include Taiwan into a revised TPP with other APAC countries, then China will really get ugly diplomatically, with Trade, and Military might. Japan has no chance to negotiate Taiwan into a TPP-revamp Agreement. Japan has no economic or military might to convince Taiwan to go against the 'One China' policy; only USA has that might. If PM-Abe tries this, without USA involved from the start, Japan will be in real trouble. This is TERRIBLE idea. The damage is already done in Japan and throughout APAC region by the terminated TPP. All APAC countries will be very leery about rejoining a multi-lateral Trade negotiation lead only by Japan (too many rice-bowl issues; too many complaints against Japan to overcome if they are the lead). Japan Ambassador to USA attempted time and again to work with Clintons, because they felt she was a 'shoe-in'. In fact, the Ambassador tried to convince Chelsea Clinton to speak at 'Women's Empowerment' type of conferences (evidently to tell about how she used Clinton Foundation to fund her lavish lifestyle). Prime Minister Abe also rushed to meet with Hillary Clinton a couple months before (a mistake), but then he commented to the Japan press on 21 November (after meeting with President Trump) that the TPP without the USA is meaningless. Some ex-pat Americans who live and conduct consulting in Japan have berated PM-Abe for these comments, but they are the ones that are committing career suicide by not understanding the precarious nature of the balance PM-Abe faces between maintenance of USA-Japan alliance and that of serving the interests of his Japanese constituency. Short-sighted 'think-tankers' and University Professors such as this Yoshihide Soeya, professor at Keio University, are encouraging PM-Abe to bluster-forward with a hastily-modified TPP Agreement with the other Countries (minus USA), and hope that eventually USA will join that renewed effort at some point in future (e.g. 4-years from now when new Elections). Japan wants to hold a leadership role, particularly in light of the hegemony of China towards all the other nations. Unfortunately for Japan, if USA is not part of the Agreement, then it is 'economically meaningless'. However, that does not mean that Japan cannot continue to be ONE OF THE leaders in APAC, in collaboration with USA. Remember - it is not necessary to reach an Agreement at first, but only to seek an adjustment, ideally an improvement, in the issue or in the Trade Relationship. Without USA in the mix, there is very little incentive for these 10-countries to attempt another grand Multi-Lateral Agreement. The now-terminated TPP required that for it to go into force, countries that ratify the agreement through their domestic legislative processes must represent 85% of the total Gross Domestic Product of the twelve original signatory countries. The U.S. GDP represents 62% of TPP signatory nations. That means Japan and the other 10-countries only make up a tiny 23% of combined GDP of the original TPP gathering. There does not seem good justification for arduous and complex negotiating effort just to gather this smallish 23% of GDP into one Agreement. If Japan attempts to negotiate with USA on a Bi-Lateral nature (or new Multi-Lateral nature) then Japan has a much improved chance to negotiate a trade agreement that serves its own economic interests if it has alternatives to a no-deal—a longstanding insight of negotiation dynamics. Hence, a re-launched Multi-Lateral Agreement, with USA in the mix, strengthens Japan’s hand in future trade negotiations. Japan will almost surely attempt to use the potential Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as a bargaining chip against the USA. However, Japan should remember that they can NOT wait for USA Populism to wane, hoping that the USA will re-engage on a Trade Deal that Japan spear-headed after collapse of TPP. If USA is not one of the Agreement-Leads, then the USA will be forced to subvert any 'TPP-light' Agreements that Japan or China attempt to orchestrate to protect Bi-Lateral Agreements. Thus, at this moment, it appears to be 'All-in (with USA), or All-out'. However, the value is that a renegotiated Multi-Lateral Agreement, with USA included in the mix, does not have to start from scratch. The USA will always be one of the most important Economic & Trade Leadership roles in APAC. Japan and the APAC countries understand this. Therefore, they will most likely throw much effort into attempting to convince President Trump to renegotiate the Multi-Lateral Trade Agreement in a way to ensure continued USA participation, rather than trying to negotiate such an Agreement with Japan only as the Lead. One of the biggest problems preventing USA-Ratification of the TPP in Congress was the feckless handling of the TPP negotiations and the absolute veil of secrecy caused by Obama and the US Trade Representative (USTR) team. That would have occurred the same way under the feckless Hillary Clinton, had she won the election. When Obama and the USTR kept all matters of the TPP secret, except for participation by their favored jumbo-corporations (e.g. Sugar Industry; Clothing; Pharmaceuticals; Insurance; Boeing; etc.), then Congress and the entire USA business communities were left worrying incessantly about how it might affect their business interests. Everyone's fear of the unknown was much scarier than the reality. With or without the TPP, USA and Japan will be able to collaboratively draft and negotiate a bi-lateral Agreement that stymies China's apparent economic advantages (e.g. undemocratic, does not respect human rights, the rule of law, transparency, copyrights, environment, etc.). Then USA will be able to influence the other countries in the region to follow this because of the concept of collaborative security, which produces economic and trade growth. This will then counterweight China's closed market and anti-competitive legal system.
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People here have a right to be afraid -- in part it is their own fault; the protectionist measures that have been allowed to survive and uncompetitive farmers, etc. to survive should rightfully be at an end. No more exceptions for Japan. Now, it's also going to destroy the US, but that's another matter.

People here don't need to be afraid, politicians and business critters do, they are the one's who created the mess and now they may be faced with the consequences.

But there is no need to hit the panic button, but it seems like too many folks already are, and cooler heads need to prevail here before something stupid happens.

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Don't worry abesan just ignore the market hits and all the negative aspects of trumpys visa policy and stance with Mexico just play like a good lap dog and everything will be fine.

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we should join the Chinese sphere of influence

I hope Japan NEVER does this. Nothing good can come from helping China.

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@Just a user

Can't agree more. "China Rule" shouldn't rule.

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