LOOKS GOOD, BUT WHAT'S UNDER THE HOOD?

THE LAST-MINUTE DEAL BETWEEN THE U.S. AND JAPAN EASES A CRISIS BUT LEAVES PLENTY OF ANXIOUS DOUBTS

Some truisms: peace is better than war. Any increase in sales of U.S. goods to foreigners is preferable to none. A door to Japanese markets pushed open a crack beats one slammed shut. So the auto-and-parts agreement concluded by U.S. and Japanese negotiators in Geneva last week, just barely in time to head off a possible transpacific trade war, looks beneficial to both sides.

But.

Spin doctors in Washington and Tokyo to the contrary, the eleventh-hour deal is more of a truce than a real peace. To be sure, the pact left both sides momentarily ebullient. In Tokyo an official...

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