Japan Yasu, the Chips Are Down

Nakasone is caught between the U.S. and the voters at home

It is not the best of times for Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone. Even his vaunted friendship with Ronald Reagan could not prevent the imposition last week of stiff U.S. tariffs against $300 million worth of Japanese exports. The move was in retaliation against Tokyo for selling microchips below cost on world markets and refusing to buy more U.S. semiconductors. At home, where the battle cry "Uriage-zei funsai!" (Smash the sales tax!) has been raised since February, Nakasone's proposed tax reforms, which include a new 5% sales tax, have won him few friends. Last week the Prime Minister's ruling Liberal Democratic Party...

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