In the present climate of heightened trade friction, the US administration is watching developments in Japan like a hawk, and the latest cause of dissatisfaction is the cosy arrangement that sees Daini Denden getting the second cellular telephone franchise for Western Japan while Japan Mobile Communications gets the rest, which includes the lucrative Tokyo area (CI No 626). According to the Japan Times, the US administration is not at all pleased with the arrangement because it effectively prevents Motorola from competing to supply phones and other equipment for the Tokyo market, which is to use the standard established by Nippon Telegraph & Telephone. Tokyo accounts for 60% of the current subscriber base of 80,000 mobile telephones – the number is noteworthy in that it is only about half the number in use in the UK for a country with twice the population. US concern was expressed in the form of a letter from US trade representative Clayton Yeutter and Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge to the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. The PTT Ministry is regularly in trouble with the Foreign Ministry – the Cable & Wireless issue was the most recent – and once again the Foreign Ministry is uncomfortable that the Postal Ministry should be inviting criticism once again.
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