After a decade of sub-par performance, the Japanese economy remains in the doldrums. Now, after a decade of extraordinarily strong performance, the United States economy is slowing. The ability of the world's two largest economies to reestablish strong growth is of critical importance to themselves and to the world as a whole. Trade frictions between the United States and Japan have remained muted in recent years but rising unemployment in the United States will lead to renewed attention to trade issues. Japan will feature prominently.
The bilateral trade agenda is increasingly moving beyond the traditional border impediment issues, however, toward the more politically sensitive issues of internal regulation and deregulation. In the past, security concerns have mitigated trade tensions but the end of the Cold War has undercut a primary justification for the United States-Japan security alliance, in turn requiring a rebalancing of economic, diplomatic, and security priorities.
This volume analyzes the US and Japanese economies; their trade and financial relationships; and their roles in the provision of international public goods such as development assistance, environmental protection, and international security. It argues that the United States ought to deemphasize its Japan-specific policies and its traditional focus on trade, and instead address its Japan-related concerns primarily through multilateral mechanisms with a focus on monetary and macroeconomic issues. The authors also recommend ways that the United States and Japan can cooperate to strengthen the global system in several areas of common interest.