The Utility of Political Rhetoric

Sen. Malcom Wallop (R) of Wyoming, author of the Opinion page column " 'Japan Bashing' Hurts All Americans," March 20, is correct that Japan is a vital trading partner. He cites impressive statistics to demonstrate why political 'Japan bashing' is wrong. But political rhetoric is not wrong. Although with its hazards, well-placed rhetoric is helpful in pressing Japan for free and fair trade reform - something Japan has been slow to take up.

While Japan does import lots of "food, raw materials, and fuels," its policies toward many value-added products remain protectionist. While Japan's trade policies are not responsible for America's sluggish economy, free-trade negotiations should be vigorously pursued. Thomas S. Hornbaker, Seattle

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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