JAPAN/TARIFFS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Donald J. Trump lost an auction in 1988 for a 58-key piano used in the classic film ‘Casablanca’ to a Japanese trading company representing a collector. While he brushed off being outbid, it was a firsthand reminder of Japan’s growing wealth, and the following year, Mr. Trump went on television to call for a 15 percent to 20 percent tax on imports from Japan…Thirty years later, few issues have defined Mr. Trump’s presidency more than his love for tariffs — and on few issues has he been more unswerving. Allies and historians say that love is rooted in Mr. Trump’s experience as a businessman in the 1980s with the people and money of Japan, then perceived as a mortal threat to America’s economic pre-eminence…The affection has grown in recent years, as tariffs have emerged as perhaps the most potent unilateral tool that Mr. Trump can wield to advance his economic agenda — and perhaps the purest policy expression of the campaign themes that lifted him to the White House.”

Jim Tankersley and Mark Landler, “Trump’s Love for Tariffs Began in Japan’s ’80s Boom,” The New York Times online, May 15, 2019