U.S.-Japan Talks on Radio Gear Stalemated

Times Staff Writer

American electronics executives, who had praised Japan for opening its market to telecommunications terminal equipment, declared here Wednesday that talks to achieve similar access for American radio wave equipment have reached an apparent stalemate.

"It's clear from the discussions so far that they (Japanese officials) have no present intention of achieving substantially equivalent competitive opportunities (for American equipment in Japan)," John J. McDonnell Jr., group vice president for information and telecommunications technologies of the U.S. Electronic Industries Assn., told a news conference.

Both the proposed Danforth bill in the Senate and the Wirth-Florio bill in the House, McDonnell noted, threaten retaliation against telecommunications equipment from countries that do not offer as many competitive opportunities to American goods as the United States offers theirs.

Discrimination Charged

McDonnell and Peter F. McCloskey, EIA president, acknowledged that Japan was treating both American and Japanese companies alike in most radio communications fields. But they charged that U.S. firms were suffering discrimination in the area of providing communications services and that Japan's Postal and Telecommunications Ministry was continuing to require cumbersome equipment certification procedures.

EIA executives last April had strongly praised Japan for offering "essential equivalency" to foreign wire equipment but had reserved their opinion about continuing negotiations concerning wireless equipment and services.

But after another two-day round of telecommunications negotiations ended Tuesday, McDonnell complained Wednesday that progress in the second phase of the talks--centered on Japan's Radio Wave Law--was "coming very, very slowly."

"We don't have the same impetus for change that we had in the first phase," he said. "There just doesn't seem to be a mood for change."

McDonnell complained that Japanese regulations prevent the sale in Japan of electronic "alphanumeric" pagers, which receive messages as well as a signal tone. Also shut out of the market are two-way mobile radios and portable cellular telephones, he said.

Potential $2-Billion Market

The EIA executive acknowledged that Japanese firms also are banned from selling those products in Japan but said that Japan should allow the same access to its markets that the United States allows. Japanese firms do sell those products in the United States, he said.

McDonnell said the market for mobile telecommunications equipment in Japan, which amounted to $500 million in 1984, could be worth $2 billion if the restrictions were lifted. He said American firms could expect to gain about 20% of such a market.

The trouble, he charged, arose from an attitude adopted by Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, which holds a monopoly on regular-fee, publicly available radio communications services, that it should decide what products the public may use.

McDonnell said the Postal and Telecommunications Ministry had offered only one concession in this week's talks. That was an offer to accept for equipment certification data that has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, McDonnell said.

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