WASHINGTON - The trade agreement reached last month by the United States and Japan averted a wider trade war between the world's two largest economies, which could have rattled global financial markets.

With the two nations experiencing almost stagnant economies, officials on both sides of the negotiating table knew they could not afford to risk piling on losses in their export businesses. Thnough Japan depends on trade more than the United States, the dangers of upsetting global currency and other markets were real.

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