NHK reported on a tweet posted today by Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts, who disclosed that he received a phone call from President Trump this morning. The journalist’s tweet reportedly reads: “@realDonaldTrump phoned me this morning in Tokyo. He says while he and PM Abe will talk trade today and tomorrow, POTUS will wait until after the July elections in the House of Councillors (Japanese equivalent of the Senate) before really pushing for a deal.” The Japanese network conjectured that the President’s alleged remark indicates that Washington is willing to wait until after the summer election to seal a trade agreement with Tokyo as it is taking into account Tokyo’s concern that such a deal might have adversely affect the ruling coalition’s performance in the key election.
The broadcaster later said that President Trump posted a message on his Twitter account saying: “Great progress being made in our Trade Negotiations with Japan. Agriculture and beef heavily in play. Much will wait until after their July elections where I anticipate big numbers!” Noting that some U.S. media outlets have been rather critical of the President’s Japan trip, NHK conjectured that the President’s tweet was intended to deflect domestic criticism that he may not be able to cut a trade deal while he is in Tokyo.