International Outlook: GLOBAL WRAPUP
Did Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady get his numbers wrong? For months, he has badgered the Japanese to cough up a final $700 million he says they promised for the gulf war. But now, he may find the Japanese actually overpaid. Reliable Washington sources have told BUSINESS WEEK that internal Defense Dept. estimates of the war costs are coming in on the low side--and that Defense is padding the costs. "No way you can make that war cost more than $40 billion," says Lawrence J. Korb, a former Assistant Defense Secretary now at the Brookings Institution. The Pentagon is sticking to its initial estimate: $61 billion. If the reports are true, they're sure to cause more furor in Japan, where raising a hefty $9 billion for the war ignited a political fire storm. "There may be a point where we pay back money," says one U. S. source. Germany, which shelled out $6.5 billion, may also press for a refund. German Finance Minister Theodor Waigel says if the final tally is low, "we'll certainly talk about it."