SAN DIEGO — In his first public remarks since returning from a review of U.S.-Japanese relations with his government in Tokyo, Japan's ambassador to the United States on Friday expressed "enormous regret and personal shame" for Toshiba subsidiary's selling of restricted defense technology on submarine propellers to the Soviet Union.
But Nobuo Matsunaga, who returned from Japan on Wednesday, argued against a threatened congressional ban on shipments of Toshiba products to America. Matsunaga said the Japanese government already has punished Toshiba Machine, passed new export control laws to prevent future incidents and agreed to work with American defense officials to develop new submarine detection technology to counter the effects of Soviet improvements stemming from the Toshiba sale.
"I hope (those steps) will diffuse in the United States the so-called Toshiba-bashing and that the provisions in the trade bill will be eliminated," Matsunaga said.
Matsunaga spoke with reporters while attending a high-technology conference in San Diego sponsored by Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego).
Although Matsunaga expressed concern about the Toshiba incident and continuing trade frictions between the two countries, he emphasized that participants in the Tokyo meetings concluded that the general state of U.S.-Japan relations remained "fundamentally sound and strong." And he indicated that next week's visit to the United States by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone will feature no significant new proposals for easing economic tensions.