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Editorial: Political parties should also be prepared for Trump’s visit to Japan

U.S. President Donald Trump will be visiting Japan after the House of Representatives election. This visit had been scheduled before the Lower House was dissolved.


With the escalation of North Korea’s provocations, the U.S. military is preparing for an attack on North Korea. Trump will be visiting Japan, the ROK, China, and two other countries amid heightening tensions. This visit may also lead to a turning point in the situation on the Korean Peninsula and will, therefore, be of great significance.


The North Korea situation is also one reason this election is being held. We hope that the next prime minister and administration will recognize the importance of Trump’s visit and take a hard look at the future of the Japan-U.S. relationship and summit diplomacy.


Inasmuch as this election is an election to choose an administration, a debate on visions and concrete policies on foreign affairs is also indispensable.


The main theme of Trump’s tour of Asia is to cut off funds and resources for North Korea’s development of nuclear arms and missiles through the implementation of sanctions in order to force the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons.


With Workers Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un ordering the “completion of the country’s development of nuclear capability,” North Korea may even launch ICBMs to coincide with the National Congress of the Communist Party of China.


A visit by Trump at this time to the U.S. allies Japan and the ROK, as well as North Korea’s most important backer, China, indicates that a crisis is imminent.


We hope that the Japanese and U.S. leaders will confirm their common intent at their summit meeting and coordinate on their basic policy on future summit diplomacy and international conferences.


Amid the stalemate in the nuclear and missile issues, another problem for Japan is how to resolve the abduction issue.


The Japanese and U.S. governments are coordinating for Trump to meet with Sakie Yokota, mother of abductee Megumi Yokota, and other family members of abduction victims. We hope that Trump will make a firm commitment with them to work for the repatriation of the abductees.


While China has been showing that it is implementing sanctions against North Korea recently, will the Xi Jinping regime really adopt a policy of applying pressure?


There are also several Southeast Asian countries that maintain foreign and trade relations with North Korea, serving as loopholes for the sanctions.


Trump’s summit meetings on his trip will be an opportunity to press China, Russia, and various other “pro-DPRK” nations to get directly involved in the international encirclement of North Korea. Japan will also need to engage in close coordination with Trump in light of China’s moves to grab the Senkaku Islands and extend its maritime reach.


How determined and prepared are the ruling and opposition parties for this situation? While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Liberal Democratic Party president) and Kibo no To [Party of Hope] leader Yuriko Koike both agree on the need to make diplomatic efforts, the important thing is the substantiation of such efforts with diplomatic capabilities. They differ on how to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance relationship.


Abe has already built a relationship of trust with Trump. The enactment of the security laws has made the Japan-U.S. alliance stronger than ever. He has already laid the foundation for diplomatic efforts.


The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan wants to repeal the security laws on the grounds that they are unconstitutional, while the Party of Hope’s position on the exercise of the right to collective self-defense is unclear.


Although no one would like to see war break out between the U.S. and North Korea, there needs to be the determination to apply maximum pressure. Abe stated at the party leaders’ debate that he would further strengthen pressure if North Korea refuses to change tack. We would like to hear what the opposition parties have to say in this regard. (Slightly abridged)

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