Courtesy Reuters

Last year, the United States ran an eight billion dollar trade deficit with Japan, and this year the figure is running 50 percent higher. As a key component in the overall U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, a recurring irritant in U.S.-Japanese overall relations, and a significant factor in the decline of the dollar over the past year, the state of trade between the United States and Japan is now a critically important problem.

As the deficit grows, so does, for many, discomfort with the long-held explanation of Japanese surplus. Japan did indeed achieve notoriety by promoting exports and restricting imports.

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