Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone today ordered his cabinet to draft new measures to further open the Japanese market to foreign products and to report back to him by the end of March, officials said.
Priority should go to facilitating foreign sales of telecommunications equipment, electronics, forestry products, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, Nakasone told his cabinet.
His action was a follow-up on a promise he made to President Reagan in Los Angeles last week to work to foster his country's imports as a means of reducing the ballooning U.S. trade deficit with Japan.
The sectors Nakasone selected for special attention are ones in which U.S. companies are competitive internationally but whose officials are complaining that formal and informal barriers hamper their sales in Japan.
Nakasone proposed no specific measures at this morning's cabinet meeting, according to official accounts. It was unclear if the pending package would contain new steps or concentrate on reaffirming Japan's resolve to proceed with previously announced ones.
Although Japanese officials concede that barriers exist, they lay the major blame for the U.S. trade deficit on the low quality and high price of U.S. products, the strong dollar and lackluster marketing by U.S. firms.
Under Nakasone's plan, each ministry is to set up a special internal committee under its top career official. State Minister Toshio Komoto will oversee the process.
Nakasone also told his ministers to meet with foreigners who have been appointed as advisers to a special cabinet committee on trade relations set up late last year.