April 10, 2014

Despite Protectionist Image, Americans Want Freer Trade with Japan

By Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes , Pew Research Center

Special to Nikkei

President Barack Obama will make a state visit to Japan April 24-25, the first such formal journey to the Land of the Rising Sun by an American chief of state since President Bill Clinton’s visit in 1996.

High on the agenda in Obama’s bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the free trade agreement now under negotiation between the U.S., Japan and 10 other nations. There are myriad politically charged details to be resolved, including greater access to Japan’s market for American-produced cars, rice, beef and other agricultural products. U.S. and Japanese negotiators are currently stymied by these issues and their resolution may require tough decisions that only their political masters can make.

Whether such a breakthrough can be achieved during Obama’s visit is impossible to predict. But what is known are the views of the American public about trade, especially with Japan, foreign investment and the TPP.

Read more at Nikkei