President Trump of America and Prime Minister Abe of Japan to hold a summit next week in New York

President Trump of America and Prime Minister Abe of Japan to hold a summit next week in New York

Noriko Watanabe and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

President Donald Trump of America and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will hold a summit next week in New York. This meeting will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

In total, this will be the eighth meeting between both leaders. However, despite this, issues remain between America and Japan in relation to tariffs and the Iran issue. Hence, while relations are extremely cordial on a personal note, it is clear that differences exist on several issues, even if elites in Tokyo don’t seek to push these differences with America.

The summit will take place on September 26 but both world leaders will meet prior to this over a scheduled meal. Of course, with Abe recently winning the presidency of the LDP in Japan, meaning several more years in power, then he may appear to be in a stronger position. However, the rank and file party members of the LDP – and the electorate who vote for the ruling party – are more evenly divided. Therefore, Abe can’t rest on his laurels despite opposition parties in Japan being very weak at the moment.

Internationally, important issues including the denuclearization of North Korea, the proposed peace plan between Japan and the Russian Federation, tariffs on China, and other important issues, will be discussed. Yet, in Japan, the business community is more concerned about tariffs on Japan, the knock-on effect of tariffs on China for Japanese companies involved in this nation, and how Abe appeared sidelined by Trump in relation to North Korea.

Of course, the Abe administration will raise the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite this, it is clear that America – and other nations involved in the Korean Peninsula crisis – view this issue much lower down the chain.

Lee Jay Walker, at Modern Tokyo Times, says, “It is hoped that Abe will be more robust with Trump from a Japanese point of view. Hence, the tariff issue between America and Japan will decide if the summit is a success for Abe – or just a nice photo opportunity with little substance.”

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