Prime Minister Takeshita has repeatedly rebuked efforts on the part of the U.S. Rice Millers' Assn. to open Japan's rice market to the United States or even to open talks on the issue.
Currently, almost no rice is imported into Japan due to past policies of the Japanese government. However, the price of rice in Japan is 8 to 10 times the world market price and is heavily subsidized by the government. Comments by officials saying that rice is such an integral part of Japanese society and that opening the market to imports would lead to shortages of rice are totally absurd. The most irritating part of this issue is that Japan has little concern for a country's home industries when it chooses to export its products. Have you noticed the preponderance of Toyotas, Nissans and Hondas on the roads? Or the glut of Japanese home electronic products? Do you recall the practice of memory chip dumping that nearly destroyed the American chip manufacturers?
I think it's time our government officials take a serious look at the imbalance in U.S.-Japanese trade and make some serious efforts to correct this situation. Perhaps we should start paying for our Toyotas with bags of rice, bushels of wheat and corn, sides of beef and Harley Davidson motorcycles.