Does Clinton Have Japan's Number...

President Bill Clinton broke ground on Feb. 11 by admitting that the U.S. and Japan had failed to reach even a minimal, face-saving trade agreement after seven months of intensive negotiations. The breakdown in the talks briefly rattled currency markets and raised the specter of a trade war. But the stalemate may do something that decades of forced smiles and phony deals didn't do: shock Japan into meaningful reform. "Clinton had to start with an out-and-out failure," says a former top Bush Administration trade official. "If he had tried to paper this one over, he would be writing off any progress during his Administration."

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