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HASHIMOTO’S VIEWS WERE WELCOME

SHARE HASHIMOTO’S VIEWS WERE WELCOME

The name Ryutaro Hashimoto may not be terribly familiar, but he is the tough-minded, tough-talking Japanese trade minister who fought the United States to a standstill in the recent auto talks.

He is also the newly elected leader of Japan's largest political party and very likely the next prime minister.Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to find him expressing decidedly pro-U.S. sentiments in interviews last week.

Hashimoto strongly endorsed the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, which commits the United States to the defense of Japan and allows for American troops to be stationed there. The treaty, now in the process of being renewed for five years, has been under attack from the Japanese right wing.

He called for a "significant reduction" in the trade balance, which is seen as only common sense here but something like heresy in Japan.

We like the sound of that. Let's hope Hashimoto keeps it in mind if and when he becomes prime minister.