US–Japan Trade Frictions: The Past, the Present, and Implications for the US–China Trade War

Shujiro Urata*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The United States and Japan have been involved in trade frictions over a number of products including textiles, steel, automobiles, semi-conductors, and agricultural products over the last 50 years. US–Japan trade frictions have taken basically two forms: (i) the United States attempting to restrict Japan's exports to the United States; and (ii) the United States attempting to increase its exports to Japan by “opening” the Japanese market. By putting pressure on Japan to adopt necessary measures, the United States sought to achieve two main objectives: (i) to reduce its trade deficit vis-à-vis Japan; and (ii) to protect and/or promote US industries. The United States failed to achieve the first objective, while some success was achieved for the second objective. The United States triggered a trade war against China with the objectives of: (i) reducing the bilateral trade deficit; and (ii) stopping unfair trade practices by Chinese firms such as violations of intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer. Based on the experiences from the US–Japan trade frictions, the United States may achieve some success for the second objective, but not for the first. The chances of achieving the second objective would increase if the United States cooperates with countries such as Japan and the European Union, which are faced with similar problems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Economic Policy Review
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1


  • F13
  • F51
  • protectionism
  • trade friction
  • trade war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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