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Tokyo knew Trump's Iowa obsession was bigger than cars

Japan's corn purchase was based on analysis of 2016 Republican caucuses

President Donald Trump wants keep farmers in the Corn Belt happy to secure his reelection.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The top Japanese negotiator who put together the recent bilateral trade pact with Washington landed the coveted foreign minister post in the latest cabinet reshuffle. His careful negotiating strategy helped shield automakers from additional U.S. tariffs.

A last-minute offer by Japan to purchase excess American corn helped convince Washington to refrain from imposing additional tariffs on Japanese auto exports, a move that would shave 0.4% off Japan's gross domestic product by some estimates.

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