ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story
ASIA
MAY 17, 1999 VOL. 153 NO. 19


Obuchi's success in Washington can be traced partly to his keen intuitive sense of America. The Japanese Prime Minister is shy, lacking the natural charisma of another recent visitor, China's Zhu Rongji. Yet Obuchi managed to charm Americans with tales of his first visit to the U.S. 36 years ago as a poor student. He told a glittering dinner in his honor at the White House that when he came to Washington in 1963, he paid only $1.50 for his night's stay at a YMCA. Now the deal is even better, he said: "No charge." Obuchi stayed for free at Blair House, an official residence near the White House.

Obuchi's triumph can also be attributed to the prevailing, upbeat mood in Washington. True, the Clinton Administration is preoccupied with the fighting in Kosovo (guests at the state dinner were kept waiting while Clinton met with Russia's special envoy for Kosovo, Viktor Chernomyrdin, who also grabbed the opportunity to meet Obuchi the following day). But war aside, the American economy is soaring, unemployment is at a historic low and Japan is no longer seen as a threat to U.S. jobs. No doubt Americans are annoyed with a lack of access to certain Japanese markets. And Clinton warned Obuchi about "unfair" trade practices, such as dumping steel. Yet the two sides have made a great deal of progress on trade. "It would be counterproductive for the U.S. to slap Japan around at this time when they are hurting and have already taken action to correct many problems," says Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr., a former U.S. trade negotiator and now president of Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington think tank. "Besides, Obuchi might just be able to pull off some more reform."

The recent souring of Clinton's flirtation with China doesn't hinder Japan's cause, either. Amid reports of Chinese nuclear spying and fresh human-rights violations, Japan suddenly looks more and more like America's true friend in Asia. Obuchi never missed a chance to remind his audiences that Japan and the U.S. "share the universal values of freedom and democracy." Unsaid, of course, was that these are values China does not particularly embrace. Obuchi was heartened by the smiles he earned from audiences in America. But back in Tokyo he will need pluck and ingenuity to sell his tough-love message of reform and restructuring to a more skeptical audience: the Japanese people themselves.

PAGE 1  |  2




This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home

AsiaNow


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.