Mochizuki optimistic for Japan, America

by Aran Toshav | 5/10/94 5:00am

Toshio Mochizuki, the Japanese Consular General in Boston, told a Dartmouth audience yesterday that current trading tensions between the United States and Japan are merely short-term problems.

In a speech titled "Japan -- U.S. Relations, Economic and Security Cooperation," Mochizuki presented an optimistic description of current relations between the two countries.

"It is important to look at both the economic and social connections of the two countries when discussing relations," Mochizuki said, because economic tensions have the potential to worsen political ties.

Mochizuki outlined numerous causes for the current tensions between the two countries.

He said the root of the current economic rift is a power game between nations in pursuit of their national agendas. He said the post-Cold War era of greater security has brought a return to economics as the preeminent factor in world politics.

Mochizuki attempted to approach the issue from both countries' perspectives. America, he said, would like Japan to open its markets to American goods, while Japan contests that it is already one of America's biggest markets. He criticized attempts to force trade concessions from the Japanese.

"The Clinton administration in an effort to prove themselves in their first term adopted an unrealistic set of demands," Mochizuki said. He cited Clinton's call for assurances that Japanese consumers would purchase a certain quantity of American goods.

But Mochizuki said U.S. products are part of the problem.

Explaining why American cars might not have sold well in Japan, he pointed out, "Until a year ago American car's being sold in Japan had their steering wheels on the left side only. It is very difficult to pay a toll or pass a car if you are driving on the wrong side."

To ease current economic tensions, Mochizuki called for better communication between the countries. He said an impartial arbitrator should help settle disputes.

In addition, he said business leaders from the two countries should negotiate directly rather than through political middlemen.

Mochizuki said it is only a matter of time before things are worked out because both countries have shown in the past an ability to work with each other.

Allison Thoreson '95, one of about 30 who attended yesterday's speech in Dartmouth Hall, said, "it was a good speech because it represented the stereotypical Japanese view. Here we only get the stereotypical American view."

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