Trump to Play Golf With Japanese PM Next Week

Japan is charting its own course to deal with the radically different USA president, an approach that will be tested when Abe meets Trump in the White House on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 - and on the golf course in Florida.

Trump has been highly critical of China, Japan's biggest strategic rival.

The former reality TV star, in comments to business executives, has assailed Japan for allegedly devaluing the yen, grouping it with other countries he says are taking "advantage" of the US. "If it becomes only an economic one, then a deal might be made at some point without the consideration of security issues in the region".

The pair have already found common ground: When Trump was elected, Mr Abe gave him a $3,755 golden golf club. The game has special significance - Abe's grandfather, who was also a prime minister, played golf with President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957. Some worry the president could thus use policy concerns as a pretense to talk the dollar down, the true aim being to reduce the US trade deficit with Japan - America's second-largest with any nation in 2016, behind that with China.

Trump has also suggested that Japan is not paying enough for USA protection.

Mr Trump has previously criticised the lack of access to the Japanese auto market for USA producers and has accused Tokyo of using monetary policy to devalue its currency.

He suggested that Abe remind Trump that Japan directly invests over $400 billion in the USA and supports 1.7 million jobs, the Financial Times further noted.




The U.S. notched a deficit on automobile-related goods of $74 billion with Mexico, $52.6 billion with Japan and $23.6 billion with Germany - three nations the President has specifically targeted as either currency manipulators, unfair tariff imposers or, in the case of Japan, both.

Japan is putting together a package of plans for Japanese companies to invest in infrastructure and job-creation projects in the United States for Abe to take to Washington.

Abe's proposal for a new framework for economic talks is dovetailed with two battle plans mapped out by the government; one to deal with an aggressive and demanding president and another for a more conciliatory one. Major Japanese newspapers cited a draft of the proposal that calls for cooperation on building high-speed trains in the US northeast, Texas and California.

Tokyo wants the Trump administration to better understand Japan's trade issues and recognize its contribution to the US economy when leaders of the two nations meet this week, Japan's top government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Abe has been grilled repeatedly in parliament over Trump's rejection of a regional trade initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and over how he plans to handle friction over trade, saying he believed it was possible to strike a bilateral agreement with the Trump administration. Japan would also help replace as many as 3,000 train and subway cars in the United States, the document said.

When they met in November previous year before Trump took office, Abe gave him a golf driver made by a Japanese company.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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