U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options [Updated July 9, 2007] [open pdf - 170KB]
"During the last decade policy leaders seem to have made a deliberate effort to drastically reduce the friction that prevailed in the economic relationship. On the one hand, this calmer environment has stabilized the bilateral relationship and permitted the two countries to focus their attention on other issues of mutual interest, such as national security. On the other hand, as some have argued, the friendlier environment masks serious problems that require more attention, such as continuing Japanese failure to resolve long-standing market access barriers to U.S. exports of autos and auto parts and flat glass and the failure of the two countries to reduce bilateral trade imbalances. Failure to resolve any of these outstanding issues could cause heightened friction between the two countries. Issues regarding U.S.-Japan economic relations may emerge on the agenda of the 110th Congress. U.S. and Japanese leaders have several options on how to manage their relationship including stronger reliance on the World Trade Organization; special bilateral negotiating frameworks and agreements; or a free trade agreement. Each option has its advantages and drawbacks and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32649