Courtesy Reuters

The strained relations between Japan and the United States cannot be explained by spurious charges that the Clinton administration is pushing managed trade, capitalizing on anti-Japanese sentiment to score domestic political points or needlessly bashing Japan over economically meaningless international surpluses. Rather, the tensions arise from two fundamental and related developments: changed American priorities and the pronounced drag of Japan’s huge current account surplus on global demand, economic expansion and job creation.

The Clinton administration’s drive to spur global economic growth and strengthen U.S. economic potential requires a new deal with Japan. For itself and all other

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