Donald Trump’s first meeting as president-elect with a head of state will be closely scrutinized for both style and substance.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the initiative to be the first to meet with Trump for practical reasons. During the election campaign, Trump criticized Japan for its trade practices and for how much it was paying the U.S. for its defense. Abe wants to understand the level of Trump’s commitment to defend Japan. He wants to, in his words, “build trust” with incoming U.S. president and highlight the importance of strong relations between the countries.
Trump needs to get used to seeing Abe. New rules will allow Abe to run for a third term, which means he will likely lead Japan throughout Trump’s first term. How the two leaders get along will speak volumes about how Trump deals with fellow world leaders — and how they might deal with him.
What Should Shinzo Abe Say to Donald Trump?
Robert Dujarric – The Diplomat
Fortunately, Japanese politics are different from those of the Atlantic world. There are no Trumps in Japan. Abe will not be meeting a man who will remind him of his domestic enemies. He will have no need to grandstand to convince voters back home that he is repulsed by everything Trumpism represents….
He should point out not only how valuable all the land which Japan provides the United States is, but also the high-quality Japanese labor there (paid by the Japanese taxpayer). He will also have to show the American president that Japan, like the other allies, actually has a robust military which serves U.S. interests.
Finally, to flatter Trump, Abe would be wrong to approach this as just preserving the old system. He must think of some clever visible, but actually minor change, that would make the alliance look different…It may be too much to hope that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could gain Trump’s support by being rebranded as the Trump Pence Partnership but something along these lines should be considered.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Is One World Leader Who Can Tame Donald Trump
Ben Lefebvre – Quartz
Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe…seems to have a light touch with geopolitical strongmen. Abe has spent much time and effort buddying up with Russian president Vladimir Putin, a head of state with whom Trump is much enthused….
Indeed, the Japanese PM reportedly has a good relationship not only with Turkey’s dictatorial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but also the leaders of Iran. He also hit it off with the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, telling the diminutive strongman he was “quite a famous figure” in Japan.
4 Things Donald Trump Needs to Know Before He Meets Shinzo Abe
Michael Auslin – The National Interest
Mr. Abe is going to be the only Japanese leader you will know until reelection time….he is the leader of the world’s third-largest economy and hosts the majority of our forces in the Pacific, your relationship with him will shape your foreign economic and security policies….
Mr. Abe has positioned Japan as the “un-China,” working to uphold regional norms, support smaller nations and promote the rule of international law. With its size and wealth, Japan is one of the few Asian nations that can play a material role, not only in its own defense, but in providing the public goods that help reduce demands on the United States….
He has increased Japan’s defense spending each year since returning to office, albeit modestly. The current budget stands at approximately $50 billion, which places it behind only the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia and France.
World Leaders to Seek Pointers from Shinzo Abe Meeting with Donald Trump
Simon Tisdall – The Guardian
How Trump responds to Abe – the first head of government to gain an audience with him – will be of equal interest, given the importance Japan attaches to respectful behaviour and correct protocol….
Manliness matters a lot, apparently, to a politician frequently labelled a misogynist. So Abe’s hard-headed, conservative style may appeal to Trump. The Japanese PM has a record of hitting it off with “strongman” leaders of the type Trump seems to admire….
Outright flattery is a tactic likely to work with Trump who, despite his bluster, has zero experience at this elevated level and will be feeling his way. If the two men get on well, Abe may draw on his superior knowledge to shape or temper Trump’s views, for example on future dealings with China, Tokyo’s more powerful regional rival.