All evening news programs on Wednesday reported on the first day of the Mar-a-Lago summit between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, highlighting the President’s statement that during his planned meeting with Kim Jong Un he will bring up the abductions of Japanese nationals by DPRK agents. An NHK reporter opined that the U.S. leader heeded Abe’s request for addressing the matter in his upcoming meeting with the North Korean leader because the prime minister has made strenuous efforts to build strong personal bonds with the President. While welcoming the President’s pledge to take up the abduction issue, former Kyodo News managing editor Goto said on TV-Asahi’s “Hodo Station” that it remains to be seen how strongly the President will press Kim to resolve the issue. Commenting on CIA Director Pompeo’s secret trip to North Korea, the journalist asserted that the episode signifies that Washington is engaging with Pyongyang without informing Tokyo.
On the economic front, an NHK reporter said that although Japan may be forced to agree to hold FTA talks in exchange for the President’s addressing the abductions in his summit with Kim Jong Un, GOJ officials will try to tamp down U.S. expectations for the talks producing quick results in the form of a tangible decline in the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.