Assuming that the U.S. is really serious about narrowing its huge trade gap with Japan, it seems that Tokyo would have to promptly redirect some $50 billion of its overseas sales to Asian and European destinations.
The key question here is whether China would be willing to take tens of billions of dollars worth of Japanese exports on top of the $133 billion it took last year, and probably a similar amount it will take by the end of this year.
That looks unlikely as a result of China's continuing progress on import substitution and a moderating growth of its domestic demand. Lingering political and security problems are also an obstacle to a greater economic integration of the two estranged Asian neighbors.
China is bristling at Japan's National Defense Program Guidelines published last week because, Beijing claims, its intent of power projection is inconsistent with the country's Constitution, which says that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained." Beijing notes, with apparent alarm, that the program carries a price tag of 27.47 trillion yen ($243 billion), and it finds particularly objectionable modifications of Japan's helicopter destroyers to allow short takeoff and vertical landing of fifth generation stealth fighters.
Ironically, Japan seems to be acquiring 42 F-35B and 63 F-35A airplanes, and two Aegis Ashore missile systems, as part of the new trade deal with the U.S.
China and Russia know that all that sophisticated military hardware is pointed at them, and they are very unlikely to come to the rescue of the Japanese economy by taking more of its exports.
And neither is the European Union likely to allow Japan to unload more exports in addition to $80 billion it will take by the end of this year.
In fact, Japan may end up having big problems with the EU if the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi debacle is allowed to destroy Europe's largest industrial alliance with Japan. "Yellow-vest" protests have put the French government on the back foot, but Renault, a true French institution, and the country's formidable elite, are fizzing with fury at the way the industrial alliance, and the car maker's chairman, are being treated by the Japanese.
Stay tuned. China is showing the way here with its response to the jailing of a Huawei executive in Canada. Ottawa is now appealing to its allies for help to free its citizens Beijing has detained.