Trade

Japan Plans to Woo Trump to Avoid Tariffs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Japanese government would rather not see Trump impose tariffs on foreign cars and car parts as that would devastate one of Japan's largest industries and they have a plan to avoid it.

Their plan, according to Reuters, does not involve presenting sound economic arguments; it involves appealing to Trump's ego and vanity.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat U.S. President Donald Trump to an imperial banquet, front row seats at a sumo tournament and a trip to the country’s biggest warship on a state visit as Tokyo seeks to avoid a bust-up over trade.

New Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host a lavish dinner for Trump during his stay through May 28, part of a display meant to showcase the two countries’ alliance. [...]

“It’s part of Prime Minister Abe’s full embrace of Mr. Trump,” Toshihiro Nakayama, a Japan Fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, said of Trump’s visit.

“What Prime Minister Abe has done was quite effective and you can even say strategic, because for Mr. Trump, personal chemistry is quite important.”

So, the Japanese government clearly knows who and what they're dealing with, but that does not necessarily mean it's going to work.

Trump may be one of the most ungrateful creatures on the planet and forcing Emperor Naruhito to endure several hours of Trump may not pay off in the end. Trump's whims may ultimately call on him to impose tariffs on foreign cars even if he really enjoys his front row seat at the sumo tournament.

With that said, I do believe this is Japan's best chance to avoid tariffs because we know Trump does not comprehend or appreciate the economics of trade.

I don't think we can expect to see officials from the European Union employ similar tactics because Trump has treated them like shit for years and public opinion in Europe is not on his side.

  • muselet

    Japan’s strategy for dealing with Donald Trump sounds an awful lot like the strategy abused spouses adopt: never question the abuser, stay under the radar, don’t call attention to oneself, flatter the abuser at every opportunity.

    It doesn’t work—ask anyone who works in an Emergency Department—but it’s depressingly common.

    And yes, Trump will slap tariffs on Japanese cars anyway, just for giggles.

    –alopecia

    • Nefercat

      Yep. With trump, he will see all the flatter and ego-stroking as just his due from inferiors. Sure, he might pat them on their heads and prattle on about how they love him. He might just as easily see them as begging him not to hurt them, and he will take great pleasure in hurting them just for fun, just because he can. As any abused partner knows.

  • Badgerite

    Maybe they could just offer him a ‘peace prize’ of some sort with dinner. They could call it the No Bell. He wouldn’t know the difference.

  • 1933john

    No need for that fancy food stuff when a
    “Chinese Sandwich” would do the trick.
    Of course, don’t tell Kim.

  • Draxiar

    It may be a sound strategy for Japan. Myself? I wouldn’t be able to help myself in doing what I could to not fancy his ego in any way.