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'Trade War' With Japan

April 07, 1985

Today's front page of The Times (March 28) brings back vividly the war that we won, that we eventually, ironically, are going to lose.

When I read of a nation that was in total disarray, and the tremendous price it paid for a tragic conflict, recovering from that affair to become a world power, an omnipotent financial force, an industrial giant, a country that represents a $40-billion imbalance in our trade, I wonder who won the war.

I was raised with the Japanese people in a small sawmill town in the Pacific Northwest, went to school with them, played baseball with them, spent evenings together, in their homes, or mine, learned a little of their language, got thrown across the room on more than one occasion by someone more expert in judo, more schooled in karate.

It's not the nation, nor its people. It's not a personal vendetta for the productive, youthful, years that I gave to this country during World War II. It's a matter of principle, a matter of pride. How can we sacrifice our own heritage, our very freedom, the future of this great America, the lives of our children, and their children, to embellish someone else's stature, strength, stability?

That the Reagan Administration is disappointed with the Japanese marketing plan, and their intent not to open their domestic markets to U.S. goods is the good news. The bad news, of course, is that we have appointed elected officials, in both parties, who have permitted this to take place, not overnight, but in the previously mentioned 40 years.

Today's headlines talk of a "trade war." Is there truly a difference in meanings when the consequences show that we are losing ground and will eventually lose the war.



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