President Trump discusses trade and tariffs with Shinzo Abe on Japan trip

President Trump discusses trade and tariffs with Shinzo Abe on Japan trip

US President Donald Trump arrives in Tokyo today, beginning a four-day visit that will include a meeting with Japanese Prime

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Photo: Reuters

US President Donald Trump arrives in Tokyo today, beginning a four-day visit that will include a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday. The rest of the trip will focus on pageantry, like an imperial banquet and naval base visit, orchestrated by Mr Abe.

Security issues related to North Korea remain contentious for both sides. Tokyo prefers taking a firm stance against Pyongyang, maintaining US troops close at hand and ramping up international pressure against the regime. Mr Trump, meanwhile, has attempted to engage North Korea in diplomacy, which fell apart in February.

Most recently, Japan was alarmed by North Korea’s resumption of  ballistic missile tests this month, while the US took a non-confrontational stance. PM Abe is keen to resolve tensions with the US over the issue, but Japanese officials have tempered expectations for this week’s meetings, downplaying the possibility of a joint statement from the two leaders.

Thus, large differences remain between Mr Abe and Mr Trump, as is also evidenced by tense, ongoing trade negotiations. Little in the way of tangible policy should be expected from Trump’s visit, potentially emboldening North Korea going forward. In the long-term, then, mutual interests will likely force Japan and the US to take a united stance on security issues.

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