A Blueprint for Reform

Japan pledges to open up, but will the trade gap really close?

Why can't the U.S. be more like Japan? And vice versa? Those were the questions underlying much of the discussion at trade talks between the two nations in Washington last week. In some cases the medicine prescribed was far too bitter to swallow. If Japanese negotiators had their way, for instance, American consumers would curb their use of credit cards, lose the deduction on home mortgages and pay a stiff new gasoline tax. For its part, the U.S. wanted Tokyo to make it easier for large department stores to set up shop in Japanese cities, to boost public spending, to crack...

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