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Abe dismisses Ishiba’s indirect criticism of his approach toward Trump administration

NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday talk show featured a live debate between Prime Minister Abe and former LDP Secretary General Ishiba on a range of topics, including the economy, social welfare, and foreign policy. Asked about how he would deal with the Trump administration if elected LDP president, Ishiba indicated that he feels the premier has not done enough to push back against what he characterized as the U.S. leader’s somewhat critical approach toward Japan. Ishiba said he feels it is necessary to convince President Trump that the United States needs Japan just as much as Japan needs the United States. Ishiiba opined that although President Trump has targeted Japan over steel and autos, these Japanese products have nothing to do with U.S. national security and this needs to be explained to him. He also expressed the view that the issue of currency is not something that should be raised in bilateral trade talks, adding that he feels Japan needs to say whatever needs to be said to the President.


Abe rebuffed Ishiba’s criticism by saying that he has explained to the President Japan’s views on national security and trade issues. He said: “It is true that the U.S. logs a $69 billion deficit in trade with Japan, but I told the President that the U.S. is making money because Japanese companies there export 75 billion worth of products abroad. I’ve also told him that talking about currency is dangerous. The President has never taken issue with Japan’s currency policy since the first time I met him. The important thing is for us to build a relationship of trust.” The premier underscored that by enacting the comprehensive security and state secrecy protection legislation, his administration has been able to establish an alliance relationship with Washington that is stronger than ever before. The prime minister added that Tokyo will spearhead global efforts to ensure “fair” trade and investment so as to address the United States’ “anxiety and frustration” with bilateral trade.  


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