Running out of time before theU.S. trade sanctions are due to be imposed on Japanese cars next Wednesday, negotiators from both countries talked late into the night in Geneva, trying hard to forge a compromise.TIME's William McWhirterreports that in contrast to the rancorous exchanges between President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama at last week's G-7 meeting in Halifax, the negotiators are now making steady progress. "The issues are pretty clear, as are the stakes," McWhirter says, noting that the threat of a potentially devastating trade war has both sides negotiating in earnest. "What isn't clear is the authority of the Japanese delegation to make the kind of substantial deal American automakers are looking for." McWhirter's congressional sources in Geneva think that Japan may soon send in senior ministers with the power to cut a deal.