Trump Hosts Japan's Abe Tuesday


But it may also crack the lid on a new and turbulent period of U.S. -Japan relations.

The official visit will begin Tuesday afternoon with a one-on-one meeting followed by a small group discussion with top national security officials focused on the Kim summit. The Abe cabinet's approval rating percentages have dipped precariously into the thirties after new discoveries about the government's handling of two suspicious cases of favorable treatment involving the prime minister and his wife.

Then, a second allegation of favoritism resurfaced, in which a friend of Abe got permission to establish a new veterinary school in western Japan.

"Our country has been taken advantage of for many, many years", he said at an event in Florida on Monday.

Last year, Trump and Abe traded fist bumps and high fives as they snuck in a round of golf in Palm Beach and a return leg near Tokyo, tucking into burgers with ketchup for good measure. Therefore, positive statements in the economic realm between China and Japan shortly before Abe meets Trump - and asking China to express Japan's concern over the abduction issue to North Korea - certainly entails the feeling of an "unmentioned swipe" aimed at the Trump administration by Japan. Abe wants to amend the clause denying Japan a full-fledged military and cast off some of the postwar shackles.

Taro Aso, the finance minister and deputy prime minister, resisted calls to resign over the admission, a move that would have been politically fatal for Abe, analysts said.

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Abe will want to reinforce the idea that maximum pressure must continue until we get complete denuclearization.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Abe said an agreement to abolish North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities "has no meaning for Japan".

"Abe thought he and Trump were on the same page in opposing talks and maximising pressure - until Trump pulled the rug out from under him", Professor Kingston said.

Under pressure from Republican lawmakers and governors from farm states last week, Trump asked his top economic advisers to take another look at the TPP, which Japan and other countries revived after the U.S. exit.

While the prime minister has been no stranger to scandals over the years, he's managed to stay in power without any real opposition because of his strong foreign policy stance, strategists said.

"Protectionism is on the rise, placing under severe threat the free trade regime", Mr Wang said in a veiled reference to the United States during talks with Mr Abe. But Trump is unhappy about trade between the two countries, which he has described as "not fair" and "not open".

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So one of the main goals of Abe's visit to the USA is to dispel the abovementioned fears, to demonstrate the unity of views on the North Korean issue, and to give impetus to mutual efforts to coordinate actions regarding the North Korean nuclear issue.

Kim has already met Chinese President Xi Jinping and is holding talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week before an expected meeting with Trump in late May or June.

Since Kim assumed power in 2011, Pyongyang has conducted 99 missile tests, including 11 successful launches a year ago, five of which fell within 200 nautical miles of the Japanese islands, said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

But even a commitment from Trump that he will demand a total dismantling of North Korea's nuclear program may not be enough to reassure the Japanese. One of those tests came when Abe and Trump were dining at their first Mar-a-Lago summit.

The U.S. itself is pushing for the release of three Americans.

What worries Abe, as well as the Japanese people and the larger foreign relations community, is that Trump, in his desire to broker a deal breaking through a long stalemate, will settle for something that could leave the region vulnerable, and no one more so than Japan.

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