Can a Little Sushi Help Seal a Deal?

Will this be a ``Bill-Mori'' summit?

Japanese officials hope that President Clinton has warmed up enough to Premier Morihiro Hosokawa after two previous meetings to call him by an informal name. The Japanese, who prize personal relationships in doing business, have come to measure the stability of ties between the US and Japan by such summit closeness.

Officials in Tokyo often talk of the warmness between President Reagan and Premier Yasuhiro Nakasone during most of the 1980s. Both were conservatives in their parties. But Mr. Reagan made little headway in opening Japan's markets.

Clinton himself has noted his similarities with Mr. Hosokawa. They are both relatively young, reformist, former governors who took office in 1993. They also have maintained high popularity with a sometimes self-conscious charismatic flair. Both are longtime admirers of John F. Kennedy. Hosokawa speaks enough English for cordiality with Clinton, but not enough for negotiating.

With Hosokawa's predecessor, the elderly and statesman-like Kiichi Miyazawa who did speak English well, Clinton sat down in a Tokyo sushi bar last July to hammer out a trade deal. But only a few months earlier, the tall US president was seen on television scowling at the short Mr. Miyazawa during a joint press conference, talking tough on trade.

Sometimes summit comradery can backfire. On his trip to Tokyo in January 1992, President Bush collapsed at a dinner, falling on Miyazawa's lap in an embarrassing image that tainted the whole summit. The event made officials more careful in scripting these close encounters between economic giants.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK