December 6, 2007

Economic relations between the US and Japan face challenges

The United States wants positive signals from Japan that it is ready to move more quickly on economic reform to make up for lost opportunities between the two powers. Although Japan and the United States have been close allies for decades, it was South Korea that signed a huge free trade agreement with Washington in June, although it still needs to be approved by both countries' legislatures.

Economic relations between the US and Japan face significant challenges. Earlier this year the US urged Japan to take further steps in opening and deregulating its markets, especially the medical, pharmaceutical and insurance sectors. Japan has also come under criticism in Washington for its zealous protection of its farmers, and for its restrictions on beef imports from the US due to mad cow disease fears.

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