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U.S., Japanese leaders busy displaying extremely close mutual bonds

All national papers gave prominent coverage to the red carpet that Prime Minister Abe rolled out for President Trump, detailing the two leaders’ informal outings apparently intended to call attention at home and abroad to their strong personal ties. Pointing out that they spent almost seven hours together yesterday, Yomiuri said their relationship appears to be closer than the relationship the President has forged with any other foreign leader. The daily quoted an unnamed Republican Party source as saying that Abe is the President’s “ideal counterpart” on account of his abundant political capital at home and his willingness to promote corporate investment in America. It added in a separate piece that in contrast the President has treated European leaders rather coolly, speculating that he has perhaps kept his distance from them because of differences of opinion over international coordination and human rights issues. The President probably also regards them as unreliable partners because of their weak political footing at home, according to Yomiuri.

 

While noting that the President was “absorbed” in getting a taste of Japanese culture on Sunday, Nikkei wrote that golf has become the “foundation” of U.S.-Japan diplomacy, as they customarily exchange opinions on various policy issues in a candid manner while spending a long time together on the links. The paper said the prime minister’s successful forging of personal ties with the President has benefited Japan, quoting a MOFA source as saying that U.S trade pressure on Japan is markedly weaker than that on China due to the two leaders’ strong bonds.

 

Predicting that the two leaders will have met for summits in three consecutive months in June when President Trump visits Osaka for the G20 conference, Sankei quoted a GOJ source as saying that it was once inconceivable that the “busiest leader in the world” would hold talks with a Japanese prime minister so often.

 

Mainichi wrote that PM Abe was on an “entertainment offensive,” sparing no effort to wow his U.S. guest. The paper added that the opposition camp is criticizing the prime minister for showing overly lavish hospitality toward the President. Asahi said Abe’s hospitality toward President Trump is extraordinary, speculating that it is designed to preempt his making strong demands in trade negotiations and to ensure his support for resolving the abduction issue with North Korea.

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