“Black Ships” and Balance Sheets: The Japanese Market and U.S.-Japan Relations

Abbott, Kenneth W., Totman, Conrad D. | January 1, 1981

In this Article, Professors Abbott and Totman address the widespread Western belief that the Japanese economy is unfairly closed to foreign trade and investment. The authors identify several levels of barriers to penetration of the Japanese market. They contend that considerable progress has been made in reducing direct official restraints and official non-tariff barriers. Further progress in resolving the closed market issue, the authors predict, will be more difficult. Some of the remaining problems are rooted in Japanese society and culture; others in Western attitudes toward Japan. All reflect the historical pattern of Japan’s relations with the West. The authors conclude with recommendations for Japanese and American policy aimed at resolving the closed market issue while maintaining amicable relations.