Take That! and That!

With a threat of sanctions, the U.S. tries to tighten the screws on Japan without starting a trade war

If posturing and tough talk were all it took to remedy the U.S.-Japan trade gap, everything would be fine by now. The grumpy Feb. 11 encounter in Washington between Bill Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa has produced a surplus of bluster. "We will not modify our position," Hosokawa warned afterward. "It's just not acceptable for the United States to continue on the same path," Clinton warned back last week. But as both sides grumbled, they tried to keep the brinkmanship within bounds. "The intent and fact are to be measured and calm about this," insisted a White House official,...

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