By Fumiaki Kubo, professor at the University of Tokyo
I would like to highlight three achievements produced by the recent Japan-U.S. summit. First, Japan and the U.S. stressed that they are in complete sync with each other in dealing with North Korea. This sent out the message that Japan and the U.S. will work side-by-side and step up pressure to make the North abandon its nuclear and missile development. It remains to be seen whether the U.S. will resort to military force. At a press conference, no explanation was offered in this regard. But the U.S. will probably step up pressure while including [the use of force] as one of the options. It is also noteworthy that the two leaders stressed the need to swiftly resolve the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea.
Second, Japan and the U.S. agreed to promote the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy,” a medium- to long-term vision based on maritime security. President Trump had been taking a different approach from the U.S. tradition of protecting the international order at any cost. It is of great significance that Japan and the U.S. reached a consensus on the strategy of advocating values and the international order together with India and Australia.
Third, on a free trade agreement between Japan and the U.S., President Trump did not make stronger demands than the Japanese side had anticipated.
On trade, President Trump will likely make stronger demands when he meets with the Chinese leader on Nov. 9. Attention must also be paid to whether he will urge China to exercise self-restraint on the South China Sea issue.