As Tokyo anxiously prepared for trade talks with the United States that started this week, one of the chief concerns of the Abe government and Japan’s private sector was what to expect when negotiating with the Trump administration, and to glean insights from how Canada survived the process.

The short answer is that Canada emerged battered and bruised beyond what any country would expect in normal trade talks, even with a notoriously difficult U.S. administration. The slightly better news is that Japan should be able to do as well, if not better, if it understands upfront just how different these negotiations will be from any other in its past.

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