Several papers reported that following the inauguration of President Trump, the GOJ is making final arrangements for a bilateral summit as early as the first weeks of February, adding that Deputy Prime Minister Aso is expected to accompany Prime Minister Abe. Yomiuri wrote that Aso’s attendance has been requested by the U.S. side as a counterpart to Vice President Pence, saying that the Japanese side has responded positively to the request since it will help build a relationship of trust between the two nations. Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Aso may hold a separate meeting, with the Japanese side hoping that the Aso-Pence relationship will help deepen communication between the two nations. Mainichi wrote that the Japanese side is hoping to urge the U.S. to continue to engage in the Asia-Pacific region in order to maintain the regional balance centered on the U.S. at the summit, given that the overall picture of the new administration’s Asia policy remains unclear and Trump and his cabinet nominees have made remarks contradicting one another at times.
In a follow-up report, Yomiuri said this morning that some GOJ officials are disappointed with President Trump’s decision to hold summits first with British Prime Minister May and then Mexican President Pena Nieto, wondering if Washington is neglecting Tokyo even though PM Abe has been eager to become the first foreign leader to meet with the new U.S. President in the hope of calling global attention to the close trans-Pacific alliance.
Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Flynn spoke by phone with Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat yesterday and told him: “Japan is an important ally. The President is looking forward to meeting and exchanging opinions with the prime minister.”
Several Monday papers took up yesterday’s remarks on a Sunday talk show by Foreign Minister Kishida, who said that when Abe meets with President Trump in the near future, the premier would like to obtain assurances that the Republican administration will maintain the Obama administration’s position that the Senkaku Islands fall under the scope of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Nikkei quoted an unnamed senior MOFA official as saying: “The prime minister needs to go through the items that have been taken for granted in bilateral relations and confirm them one at a time with the new President.”