The United States is not alone in bluntly criticizing Japan's burgeoning trade surplus.
European officials, in a week-long meeting with Japanese negotiators that began at Common Market headquarters here Monday, are repeating the American warning in Tokyo in late November: "Open up to our exports - and fast."
One European characterized the Japanese economy as "too efficient for its own good."
Impatience and resentment are Europe's twin reactions to Tokyo's reluctance to open up the Japanese market, termed here "import resistant."
Protectionist sentiment here is fueled by a spiraling European Economic Community trade deficit with Japan. It is growing by $1 billion annually and expected to reach a staggering $5 billion this year.
European irritation is only partially assuaged by Japan's promise, made Tuesday, of early tariff cuts. As yet these are only intentions, said one EEC official, adding, "We want to see a turnaround in the trade trends right away."
"It's like getting blood out of a stone," complained another Common Market official referring to Japan's chronic unwillingness to ease the administrative red tape blocking a boost for Europe's stagnating exports.
"A lot of exporters here have simple written off the Japanese market as a no-hope case," said another. Europe seeks sale to Japan in key sectors such as automobiles, foodstuffs and chemicals.
Like the Carter administration, European Commission President Roy Jenkins has threatened a crackdown against Japan if results do no materialize fast.
"A state of affairs where our exports of Japan pay for around 40 percent of our imports from Japan will inevitably lead - unless we deal with it - to increased protectionism," he told a Tokyo audience in late October.
Frustration at what is seen here as the "grotesque deteriotion" in Europe's trade balance with Japan is compounded by its damaging effect on Common Market unemployment, now an unprecedented 6 million.
American belligerence in recent blunt dealings with Tokyo both heartens and disturbs Europeans. Admitting that U.S. negotiators "have got more muscles" to flex in Tokyo, they hope that the Common Market can shere any trade gains achieved by Washington.
But the fear that Europe might be left to pay the tab of an improved U.S. trade with Tokyo haunts European analysts.
European policymakers are also watching with anxiety for the outcome of high-level talks tentatively scheduled for late December between a Japanese ministerial delegation and Robert Strauss, the President's special trade representative.
"Will it be of advantage to us or only to the U.S.A?" asks a European negotiator.
Common Market countries have also been on the receiving end og Tokyo's export marketing. Most restive are Britain and France. Sectors hardest hit by Japanese import pressure are steel, shipbuilding, automobiles and ball bearings.
Slapping on harsh anti-dumping duties has been the EEC's response to the crisis in the bearing industry, where short-term work is now the rule and 5,000 have been laid off.
Traditional European reluctance to invoke defense measures is receding.
The trade gap is most blatant in th auto sector. In 1976, Japan sold half a million autos in the EEC but bought only 5,000.
Steel, another touchy area, ia one where Japan reportedly renewed this week a year-old agreement to limit its exports to the EEC. Europeans fear adverse reactions from the Americans, known to see the accord as a cartel.
The paralle U.S. and European trade offensives against Japan's rising exports intensified earlier this week when Strauss and Wilhelm Haterkamp, a top EEC trade official, agreed in Washington that new international trade rules were needed to enable protective action against aggressive exporters.
Tokyo, a vocal supporter of international fee trade, has traditionally opposed such a "selective" safeguard mechanism, but the tide is now rolling against Japan. The feeling is never far from the surface in Brussels that Japan, the greatest beneficiary of an open world trading system, is doing much of discredit it by maintaining an intractably closed economy and by its aggressive exploitation of politically sensitive foreign markets.