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Foreign Minister Refutes Criticism of Japan’s Market

April 22, 1993

TOKYO (AP) _ Foreign Minister Kabun Muto joined other Japanese officials today in rebuffing renewed U.S. complaints that the Japanese market is closed.

″Compared with the United States, Japan’s market is more open,″ Muto told a session of Parliament. ″The notion that Japan’s market is being closed is beyond belief. It is wrong.″

In a joint news conference following his first summit meeting with Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa in Washington last Friday, President Clinton said he was deeply concerned about the ″inadequate market access for American firms, products and investors in Japan.″

Other Japanese government officials have rejected Clinton administration’s calls to set specific goals for foreign market share in specific industries, as has been done in the Japanese semiconductor market.

Clinton also said at the time that a stronger yen could help reduce Japan’s chronic trade surplus with the United States, which reached $49 billion last year.

Following Friday’s remarks by the president, the yen has now gained 2.60 yen, or 2.3 percent, against the dollar over the past three trading days, setting a series of postwar lows.

Economic officials fear that a further increase in the yen will hurt Japanese exporters and delay an economic recovery from the nation’s worst recession in nearly two decades.

Last Tuesday, the Japanese government announced a record $119 billion package to stimulate the economy, but some U.S. officials have already questioned its effectiveness in boosting domestic demand as a way to pare the mounting trade surplus.

Update hourly