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A Japanese SOS.

A Japanese SOS

His name may be hard to pronounce and his English may be hard to understand, but his desire to improve trade between Japan and Arkansas is clear.

"This part of the speech is SOS from me to you," says Yutaka Kajita, who is addressing a group of Arkansas business leaders.

Kajita, senior trade advisor for the Japan External Trade Organization, is "on loan" to the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission.

"I want to tell how eagerly Japan marketplace is waiting for Arkansas products," he says.

In 1986, Japan's trade surplus peaked at $83 billion.

According to Kajita, Japan is attempting to reduce the surplus by increasing imports. By 1990, the trade surplus was down to $51 billion.

The trade surplus with the United States has fallen from $32 billion in 1986 to $14 billion in 1990.

Japan is the largest importer of American agricultural products despite a virtual ban on rice imports. Last year, the Japanese bought $8.1 billion in U.S. agricultural products.

Asked about the ban on rice imports, Kajita says, "My salary is from the Japanese government, so it's not easy to criticize."

He says pressure from the powerful Japanese farm lobby to continue the restrictions is strong.

Japan's direct foreign investments continue to expand, but Kajita thinks the scope of those investments has been exaggerated.

At the end of 1989, Japanese investments in the United States totaled $69.7 billion, far behind the $119.1 billion in investments by those who live in the United Kingdom. The Netherlands ranked third at $60.5 billion.

In 1988, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, Japanese firms employed more than 400,000 Americans.

A Japanese government survey shows there are 1,433 Japanese-owned plants in the United States. California is home to 246 of those plants. Arkansas has 11 Japanese-owned plants.
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Title Annotation:Yukata Kajita, senior trade advisor for the Japan External Trade Organization, urges Arkansas business leaders to export
Author:Ford, Kelly
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jul 29, 1991
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