Japan's Abe to Visit Trump; N. Korea Least of His Worries

Aso comments on official's alleged harassment

Japan's Abe to Visit Trump; N. Korea Least of His Worries

That would get him out ahead of a potentially embarrassing leadership vote within his Liberal Democratic Party in September. This applies to trade, the Korean Peninsula based on the appearance of America sidelining Japan, and the apparent aloofness of the Trump administration in not considering the concerns of Japan to the maximum. Yu Uchiyama, a political science professor at the University of Tokyo, said Abe will try to make sure the two leaders are on the same page on North Korea.

Trump's decision to hold an improbable summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un this May or June was announced without consulting Abe. That summit is expected in May or early June.

Adding insult to injury, later the same month, Japan was the only major American ally not promised an exemption from Trump's hefty new tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum. Unlike the EU, South Korea and other security partners of the US, Japan hasn't been exempted from the tariffs.

"Protectionism is on the rise, placing under severe threat the free trade regime", Mr Wang said in a veiled reference to the U.S. during talks with Mr Abe.

The pledge by the two countries, at their first high-level economic dialogue since 2010, came as both bear the brunt of protectionist policies by the United States which have threatened to upend the global economic order.

Both are embroiled in controversies surrounding dodgy financial deals but, while Trump's poll numbers are holding up, Abe's have plummeted to record lows.

Flamboyant former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters this weekend that he now believed it would be "difficult" for Abe to win, though analysts say there are still few viable alternative candidates.

But last week an official document emerged describing the school as "an issue that involves the prime minister", reheating allegations that Abe used his influence to secure the permit for the school. Among the topics are the North Korean nuclear program, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, problems of the South China Sea, as well as issues of bilateral trade relations. "So Abe should tell Trump that Japan and the USA need to act as one and urge Trump to understand Japan's position on North Korean issues, as well as economic issues". Trump will probably fulfil this request.

Another hard topic of discussion is trade. On the following day, the US Treasury Department put Japan on a watch list of states with "unfair currency practices" and criticized the continuing large US trade deficit with Japan. Trump pulled the USA out of TPP shortly after his inauguration in early 2017.

So far, Japan has reacted cautiously to this statement, as it could eventually require further concessions on quotas and tariffs.

China owns roughly 95 percent of the world's rare earth minerals as of 2015, but this new supply would give Japan more economic standing in the field, CNN reports.

But Japan's government, which was dismayed by Trump's decision to pull out of a huge Pacific free trade deal past year, has made it clear that it's in no hurry to sign up for bilateral negotiations with Washington.

In a meeting between China and Japan the Foreign Minister of Japan, Taro Kono, said, "We shared the recognition that a trade war caused by any nation would have a massive impact on the prosperity of the global economy".

"The Quad", or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue - a meeting of officials from India, Japan, Australia, and the US - was initiated in 2007, accompanied by joint military exercises.

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