USIP Press Books
November 2002
224 pp., 6" x 9"
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Japanese representatives bring to the negotiating table a distinctive mind-set and behavioral style, one that’s largely free of gamesmanship and histrionics but that’s nonetheless frequently exasperating.

This volume explores four recent U.S.–Japanese negotiations—two over trade, two over security-related issues—looking for patterns in Japan’s approach and behavior. In the first three cases, veteran Japanologist Michael Blaker finds the same fundamental style—coping. “Coping captures the go-with-the-flow essence of the Japanese bargaining approach”: cautious, methodical, low key, resistant, apprehensive, and above all defensive. In the fourth case, Ezra Vogel and Paul Giarra recount how the United States and Japan fashioned a new security framework for their relationship in the 1990s. Vogel and Giarra show that close personal relationships, mutual trust, and a common purpose can foster flexible, fast, and fruitful negotiations.

Each case study explains the cultural as well as political, institutional, and personal factors and assesses their influence. A concluding chapter draws out common threads from the four studies, suggests how U.S. negotiators can maximize negotiating efficacy, and points the way toward a new and clearer understanding of Japanese bargaining behavior.

Michael Blaker has taught at several major universities and authored numerous publications, including The Politics of Trade.

Paul Giarra is a senior analyst in the Strategic Assessment Center of Science Applications International Corporation.

Ezra Vogel is research professor at Harvard University and author of Japan as Number One.


  • Introduction
  • Negotiating on Orange Imports, 1977–88
  • Negotiating on Rice, 1986–93
  • The FSX Negotiations, 1985–93
  • Security Negotiations, 1994–96
  • Conclusions

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