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PacNet #34 – Next Steps in the U.S.-Japan Relationship

President Clinton will meet his sixth Japanese counterpart when Prime Minister Obuchi visits the United States next month. In his first meeting, in 1993 with Prime Minister Miyazawa (who has re-surfaced as Japan’s latest Finance Minister), the discussion was dominated by bilateral trade tensions. The stakes are substantially more serious today, as Japan’s deepening recession risks dragging down much of Asia, with grave consequences for regional stability. The importance of U.S.-Japan relations is second to none. Prime Minister Obuchi needs to demonstrate that his government and his party can take the necessary actions to keep it this way.