Washington International Law Journal


In 1994, the United States and Japan agreed to permit reciprocal fresh apple imports after decades of negotiations. However, U.S. apple exports to Japan were a commercial failure. Initial sales peaked in 1995, then quickly declined, and no U.S. apples have been shipped to Japan since 1997. The United States blames unfair regulations for this failure. This Comment reviews the history of the U.S.-Japan apple dispute, analyzes Japan's apple import regulations, and concludes that those regulations aggravated, but did not cause the commercial failure of U.S. apple exports to Japan. Instead, U.S. apple exports failed because of unexpected price competition from Japanese apples, insufficient marketing efforts, and consumer rejection of the only two varieties registered for export. Unless these underlying problems are also addressed, efforts to reduce Japan's regulatory restrictions on apples will not lead to successful exports.

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