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Experts discuss results of U.S.-Japan summit

On NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show, six experts discussed the results of the summit held last week between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe. Concerning their discussion on dealing with North Korea, Keio University Professor Yasushi Watanabe speculated that the United States is unlikely to agree initially to any kind of concessions, including a possible reduction of its forces in South Korea, at its direct talks with the DPRK but will likely demand denuclearization by 2020. Ado Machida, a senior member of President Trump’s transition team, stated that the upcoming U.S.-DPRK summit will be a historic event and that the President apparently listens to the views of the prime minister. Former Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka said that Abe should be commended for winning the President’s commitment to raise the abduction issue at his planned talks with the DPRK leader.


As for U.S.-Japan trade, Mizuho Research Institute analyst Akihiko Yasui commented that it is good that the United States and Japan agreed to launch new consultations led by USTR Lighthizer and Economic Policy Minister Motegi to seek mutual benefits. Yasui and Watanabe stressed that the U.S.-Japan talks should respect the WTO and other international rules. Machida stated that it is natural for the United States to ultimately seek a free trade agreement with Japan and that the new consultations to seek free, fair, and reciprocal trade will be established as a subset within the framework of the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue in order to hold more in-depth discussions.

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