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Politics

A short history of the lengthy US-Japan auto disputes

On-again, off-again trade frictions date back to the disco era

| Japan

TOKYO -- U.S. President Donald Trump's stinging rebuke Monday over barriers to the Japanese auto market recalls the two decades of trade disputes between Tokyo and Washington that began in the 1970s.

The frictions started to build during President Gerald Ford's administration, which ended in January 1977. Then amid the oil crisis and rise of the dollar, U.S. vehicle imports spiked nearly 20% from 1978 to 1979. The three big American automakers were laying off workers, and Chrysler came to the brink of bankruptcy. These woes sparked talk of a Japanese threat looming over the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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