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U.S., Japan reportedly to forgo economic dialogue during Vice President’s visit to Tokyo

Asahi noted that almost a year has passed since the last U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue between Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Aso was held. The paper pointed out that although the Vice President will visit Tokyo on Nov. 12-13 and hold talks with Prime Minister Abe, an economic dialogue with Aso is unlikely to take place. The paper speculated that Aso’s remarks last year referring to Hitler’s motive for genocide during WWII might be the reason the two politicians have not held talks. Aso reportedly told a meeting of his faction in August 2017: “It is important for politicians to deliver results. Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good even if his motive was right.” He later retracted the comment. The paper claimed that according to a GOJ source, Vice President Pence viewed the remark as problematic and informal talks between the two planned for the next month were cancelled. Following the second session of the Economic Dialogue in October 2017, Aso and the Vice President have held “meetings,” but not “dialogue.” The paper conjectured that arrangements are being made for the two officials to hold another “meeting” this time. The paper quoted a USG source as reportedly saying that Aso’s reference to Hitler ruined his relationship with the Vice President.

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