Seriously cornered Abe to meet President Trump in U.S. today

17 April, 2018, 18:48 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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On April 17, 2018, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins a three-day visit to the United States. Abe is heading to U.S. Pres.

But with Abe's approval rating languishing at its lowest level in years and Trump mired in controversies and crises too numerous to list, both are under pressure.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File).

US President Donald Trump hosts Japan's Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort Tuesday, with both men under pressure to deliver something more than bonhomie and birdies. "As head of the government, I'm committed to deal with every single problem responsibly to uncover the truth and squeeze out the pus", he said. It will also serve as a test of whether the fond personal relationship the two leaders have forged on the golf course and over meetings and phone calls has chilled over Trump's recent moves, including his failure to exempt Japan from new steel and aluminum tariffs.

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But this round of talks may prove more challenging than the first two.

As a result, trade and currency policies are likely to be a major subject of discussion during the Abe-Trump meeting, particularly as the USA agricultural lobby pushes for greater access to the Japanese market.

Both leaders could use a successful summit to give themselves a political boost at home. Organizers said 50,000 had participated by the time the demonstration ended.

His popularity plunged more than 10 points, after his Finance Minister had admitted in March that his ministry had faked documents related to the sale of state-owned land at around one-tenth of its price to a private educational institution, with alleged links to the Prime Minister and his wife, Akie Abe.

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For the Japanese prime minister the conditions of the visit are unfavorable. He will need to listen carefully to Abe's worries about the summit with Kim, and he will need to find a good approach to claiming victory on trade with Japan.

Japanese researchers have recently discovered rare earth mineral deposits that could last for hundreds of years. The surprise announcement that Trump will meet with the North Korean leader was a bit of a body blow to the Abe cabinet. That would get him out ahead of a potentially embarrassing leadership vote within his Liberal Democratic Party in September. Other party leaders with an eye on the premiership are ready to pounce should Abe fall, though he has bounced back from setbacks before.

Although Trump pulled the world's largest economy out of the regional free trade pact upon taking office in January a year ago, he instructed officials last week to look into returning to it amid a simmering trade spat with China, a non-TPP member. Abe said in parliament that he would seek assurances from Trump that during the meeting with Kim Jong-un he would raise the issue of eliminating all North Korean missiles capable of reaching Japan. The steady barrage of missiles from North Korea previous year, however, helped Abe make his case for a stronger military.

Abe will want to make sure Trump doesn't cut a deal with North Korea that leaves Japan exposed to shorter-range missiles that do not threaten the US mainland. "So Abe should tell Trump that Japan and the US need to act as one and urge Trump to understand Japan's position on North Korean issues, as well as economic issues".

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While signing the tariff order, Trump says that Abe will have "a little smile" on his face when they talk. "He is also seeking to achieve a diplomatic result in hopes of turning around his public support".

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