U.S. Cites Gains in Phone Talks With Japanese

Times Staff Writer

The United States achieved “every one” of its objectives in the recently completed first phase of negotiations to open the Japanese market to American telecommunications services and equipment, Under Secretary of Commerce Lionel H. Olmer told Congress on Tuesday.

But in testimony before a House banking subcommittee, Olmer, who headed the negotiating team in Tokyo, cautioned that more talks are ahead and that the final measure of success will be whether U.S. companies actually make sales in Japan.

Olmer acknowledged under questioning that the negotiations probably had been helped by the wave of anti-Japanese, protectionist sentiment that swept Congress in early April.

Subcommittee members, while skeptical of Japanese motives, seemed in no mood to rekindle the anger that several weeks ago led both houses of Congress to pass non-binding resolutions calling for trade retaliation against Japan if its markets are not opened.


Olmer made it clear that the issue of U.S. access to the massive Japanese telecommunications market--which arose when the government-owned Nippon Telegraph & Telephone became a private company April 1--has yet to be tested.

“You can’t just say the game is over and declare victory,” he said.

A formal statement issued jointly by the State Department, the U.S. trade representative and the Commerce Department on Tuesday, however, came close to doing just that, claiming success in specific areas that as recently as early April had seemed beyond the reach of the U.S. negotiating team.

According to the statement, the Japanese:


- Agreed that “harm to the network” will be the sole standard for rejecting telecommunications equipment offered in the Japanese market. Until now, a variety of technical and commercial standards effectively screened out U.S. products.

- Agreed to require its trunk carriers to provide technical information on network hookups to any U.S. company interested in entering the market.

- Agreed for the first time to include foreign industry representatives on the government’s telecommunications advisory council and to accept manufacturers’ test data and company documentation as proof of equipment specifications.