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Concerns voiced on lack of record keeping on Abe-Trump talks during golf game

President Donald Trump has left Japan after staying for three days and two nights. He spent a total of some 9.5 hours with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a visit that lasted approximately 48 hours.

 

The two leaders, who confirmed their “honeymoon” relationship, apparently engaged in “in-depth discussions” (according to Abe) on North Korea and other issues. It is possible that no diplomatic records were kept on their conversation while golfing, during which they were practically alone.

 

Abe and Trump played golf on the first day of Trump’s visit on Nov. 5 and had two meals together on that day. They also had a working lunch, a summit meeting, and a reception in the evening on Nov. 6.

 

The close relationship between Abe and Trump stands out in comparison with Abe’s relationship with former President Barack Obama. When Obama spent three days and two nights in Japan in 2014, he and Abe had only two meals together, including the reception at the Imperial Palace. The Japanese side had requested a lunch, but this did not take place. Abe also did not accompany Obama on his visits to Meiji Jingu Shrine and other places.

 

During their dinner on Nov. 6, which was Trump’s last opportunity to spend time with Abe on this visit, Trump said, “I had a really wonderful time,” but he also revealed, “We talked shop the whole time we were playing golf.”

 

The two leaders were alone for part of the time they were playing golf. There is concern that no records would be kept even if they talked about important matters.

 

At a news conference on Nov. 7, although Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga did not confirm if records were kept on the conversations during the golf game, he said: “Generally speaking, records would be kept on diplomatic exchanges that require record keeping.”

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