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Mitsubishi President Protests U.S. Auto Group Ad

June 20, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ The president of Mitsubishi Corp. was misquoted in a U.S. auto group’s advertisement as saying Japan’s auto market is closed, a spokesman for the company said Tuesday.

The American Automobile Manufacturers Association ad last week in the Washington Post said Makihara had ``confirmed what every one in the world knows: Japan’s market is closed to foreign cars, trucks and auto parts.″

The ad apparently was based on a report in the national Asahi newspaper June 8 that quoted Makihara as saying a reason for U.S-Japan trade friction is the closed nature of the Japanese market. The Asahi article did not carry any comments on automobiles.

``Mr. Makihara told Asahi that, generally speaking, the Japanese market might be considered closed, not specifically in the field of cars,″ Mitsubishi spokesman Takashi Shogase said Tuesday.

``On the contrary, Mr. Makihara commented after that, that car sales, including dealerships for foreign cars, including auto parts, are relatively more open,″ Shogase said.

Shogase said Makihara sent a letter of protest to the AAMA last week. The association has not yet responded, another Mitsubishi spokesman said.

Makihara sent a letter of protest to the American Automobile Manufacturers Association last week Shogase said.

U.S.-Japan auto and auto parts trade is an extremely sensitive issue, and negotiators from the two countries are to meet starting Thursday in Geneva to try to forestall $5.9 billion in punitive U.S. tariffs on Japanese luxury cars.

Washington says it will impose the sanctions June 28 _ the following Wednesday _ if no deal is reached to open Japan’s market further to auto and auto parts imports.

Mitsubishi Motors, a major Japanese carmaker, is part of the same industrial group as Mitsubishi Corp.

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