Several Saturday papers took up GOJ officials’ negative reactions to Donald Trump’s latest remarks demanding that Tokyo pay all the expenses for maintaining the U.S. military presence in Japan. The comments by unnamed GOJ officials included: “He does not comprehend the benefits brought to the U.S. by stationing its troops in Japan,” “Mr. Trump may be trying to start from scratch in reviewing the bilateral alliance,” and “He appears to be very adamant about this issue. He might not back off.” Yomiuri wrote that Tokyo is worried that the more Trump talks about this subject during the campaign this summer and beyond, the more the American people may begin to subscribe to his narrative. Nikkei said the GOJ is also concerned about Trump’s comments calling for renegotiation of the TPP accord, quoting an unnamed senior METI official as saying: “This is a product of negotiations among the 12 member states over many years. We will never rework it.”
In a related development, most papers reported on criticism of Donald Trump by Minister for Regional Reconstruction Ishiba, quoting him as saying in Washington on Friday: “I suspect that he has never read the bilateral security treaty. The U.S. maintains troops in Japan not only for ensuring the peace and independence of Japan but also for regional peace and stability. He doesn’t realize that Japan provides land and money for maintaining the U.S. military bases.”
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Yomiuri said it may be considerably difficult to persuade Trump to stop insisting that Japan, South Korea, and other partners should pay the cost of stationing U.S. troops in their territory since he has been saying this for over 30 years. Sunday’s Sankei and Tokyo Shimbun took up Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail in Nebraska on Friday, in which he argued that import duties on Japanese cars should be raised to a level that corresponds with Japan’s tariffs on U.S. beef imports.