Analysis of Abe-Trump Summit

Analysis of Abe-Trump Summit

    NHK World's Tomoko Kamata joins anchor Minori Takao in the studio to discuss the upcoming summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump.

    Takao: Tomoko, take us through the expected agenda.

    Kamata: Well, Shinzo Abe says what's most important is sending out a clear message that the alliance is solid. I think he wants to reaffirm the American commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. Trump's campaign remarks on security raised concern.

    "I want to defend Japan, I want to continue. But they have to continue to pay. They have to pay us a fair amount.... Maybe Japan has to defend themselves."
    Donald Trump

    Takao: But it's unlikely Trump is reconsidering the Japan-US alliance altogether.

    Kamata: That's right -- and this month's visit by new Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was reassuring.

    "The United States remains committed to the defense of Japan under the treaty of mutual security."
    Jim Mattis / US Defense Secretary

    Mattis also referred to an issue important to Japan concerning the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Japan controls the islands. The government maintains they are an inherent part of Japan's territory. China and Taiwan claim them.

    Mattis said the US will continue to recognize Japan's administration of the islands and that the bilateral security treaty applies to their defense. Despite that, Abe apparently wants to confirm this with Trump as well.

    Takao: Alright and let's turn to the economy. Trump recently criticized some of Japan's policies.

    Kamata: Right, there's growing worry over his views on trade and monetary policy. Here's a reminder of some of his comments.

    "We sell a car in Japan and they do things to us to make it impossible for us to sell cars in Japan.... We have to all talk about that. It's not fair."
    Donald Trump / US President

    "Other countries take advantage of us on money and money supplies and devaluation.... You look at what China is doing you look at what Japan has done over the years. They play the money market, they play the devaluation market and we sit there like a bunch of dummies."
    Donald Trump / US President

    Officials have been trying to analyze the new administration's direction with all this, but they say it's still unclear to them. It seems Abe will explain his policies, and especially highlight the contributions Japanese firms are making to the US economy.

    "American economic growth will definitely benefit Japan as well. And that growth will be a result of our major contribution. I will talk about the economy, not only from the point of view of trade deficits, but also from a broad perspective."
    Shinzo Abe / Japanese Prime Minister

    And Abe will come bearing a package -- he's expected to present infrastructure projects to create more jobs in the US like building highspeed railways.

    In a meeting before the new President took office, Abe told reporters Trump is a leader he can trust. But we'll have to pay attention to how the two address each other. It could set a key note for the relationship.