After two days of talks, Japan and the U.S. say they are close to a trade deal, but the official statements are little more than political theater for key constituents back home, analysts say.
"Even if the economic argument is 100 percent…it's not, because [we] live in a political world," Asian Trade Centre (ATC) executive director Deborah Kay Elms told CNBC. "At this point we're in a little bit of political theater for both sides."
After two years of talks over lowering trade tariffs the U.S. and Japan are finally close to a deal, the two sides said Monday following recent talks.
Negotiations have been whittled down to what each country sees as national symbols and sacred cows – rice for the Japanese and cars for the Americans.
The U.S. demands that Japan open up its market to American rice, while the Japanese are holding out for a resolution on U.S. car parts tariffs.
Playing to constituents back home can lead to official positions that do not make any sense in the real world, analysts said.
For example, persistent demands to open up the Japanese market to U.S. carmakers are a legacy of more than thirty years of fights over the American auto market, according to ATC's Elms.