U.S.-Japan Relations Discussed as Abe Visits Trump

On Friday, President Donald Trump welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks that lasted throughout the weekend and went from Washington, DC to the President’s winter home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

It was Abe’s second meeting with Trump.  He made a special visit to Trump Tower in November following Trump’s election victory, but this marked the first time the two have met in their official positions.

Last weekend’s meeting seems to be successful as both sides reaffirmed their military and economic alliances.  This is sure to be a relief in Japan where there were concerns about Trump neglecting the United States’ commitments in its role as a peacekeeper and trade partner with Japan.  During the presidential campaign he intimated that it may be time for Japan to handle more of its own national security, including establishing its own nuclear arsenal.  Also, earlier this month Trump criticized Japan in accusing it of currency manipulation.

Japanese worries should be settled for now as President Trump stated he is grateful for Japan’s role in hosting American forces and their role in East Asian military operations.  Prime Minister Abe attempted to appeal to Trump’s economic dispositions by emphasizing that Japan is a major investor in the American economy and one of its largest trade partners.

Perhaps highlighting the two nations’ dependence on each other for maintaining stability in East Asia was news that North Korea conducted a medium range missile test on Sunday.  Japan and the United States issued a joint statement shortly thereafter with Abe condemning the test as “intolerable” and in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  Trump followed stating, “I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.”