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Chief Government Spokesman To Use $50,000 Cadillac

April 30, 1992

TOKYO (AP) _ So what’s Japan’s chief government spokesman doing to cut down that nasty trade surplus?

He’s planning to get a Cadillac, making him the first Japanese Cabinet minister to be chauffered in a foreign car.

Cabinet Secretary Koichi Kato’s new Cadillac Fleetwood Elegance sedan will cost $52,000 and replace one of the two Japanese cars he uses for official business, Kato aide Mitsuo Uehara said today.

During President Bush’s visit to Japan in January, the two nations agreed on an ″action plan″ to cut away at Japan’s trade surplus - $43 billion in 1991. Autos and auto parts account for about three-fourths of the surplus.

Uehara said Kato personally decided his new car should be Made in the U.S.A.

A spokesman for Yanase and Co., the sole Japanese importer of General Motors cars, said discussions were proceeding but as of today no order had been placed by Kato’s office.

The Cadillac won’t be the only GM car cruising through Tokyo’s Capitol Hill district. Parliament purchased two Buick Park Avenues earlier this year.

In March, GM launched an aggressive advertising campaign directly comparing its Cadillac Seville to Japanese competitors.

The American share of Japan’s car market is estimated at less than 0.4 percent of the more than 4 million cars sold in 1991.

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