Clinton Keeps the Heat on Japan

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WASHINGTON: Bill Clinton isn't ready to trust Japan. As he gets ready Wednesday to relieve Al Gore of his world-leader traveling duties, Clinton gave the Japanese a preview of what they'll hear when he gets to Tokyo: more nagging. Just two days after Japan announced a whopping $196 billion stimulus package, does Japan maybe deserve a pat on the back instead? TIME Wall Street columnist Daniel Kadlec says that the U.S. has learned its lesson about the soft sell.

"You can't lay off them," he says. "They've needed to fix their economy for 10 years now, and they've proven that they're not going to act on their own." Now Japan has written the check, but it still needs to pass what Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers on Wednesday called the "speed of implementation" test: quick, fundamental reforms that will point Japan in the direction of a sustainable recovery not bought with deficit spending. And from the moment Prime Minister Obuchi shakes Clinton's hand in Tokyo, he'll get an earful about it.