This analysis empirically evaluates a subset of Japanese agricultural policies during the 1970s and 1980s using the Trade Restrictiveness Index recently developed by Anderson and Neary. This index, though theoretically rigorous, is empirically demanding, resulting in relatively few applications. Inferences obtained from the index are in general accordance with policy changes and economic events over the period of analysis. Using 1970 as the base, the estimated TRI suggests that policy changes during 1970-87 resulted in moderately liberalized trade. Comparison with a conventional measure of trade distortion- producer and consumer subsidy equivalents (PSEs and CSEs)- reveals contrasting inference. This suggests the choice of empirical measures in evaluating trade policies in nontrivial.