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U.S., Japanese leaders discuss DPRK, Iran, and trade in summit meeting

All national papers gave top coverage to yesterday’s summit at the Akasaka Palace between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, focusing on their agreeing on Iran, North Korea, and bilateral trade. The two leaders reportedly agreed to completely align their policies on the DPRK, with President Trump expressing “full support” for the premier’s desire to hold a summit with Chairman Kim without preconditions. On Iran, President Trump reportedly welcomed the prime minister’s plan to visit there next month to defuse the escalating tensions by saying at the outset of the summit: “That would be fine. Nobody wants to see terrible things happen.” According to an unnamed senior GOJ official cited by Sankei, Abe explained to the President during an informal dinner on Sunday that he was urged by the Iranian foreign minister, who hurriedly came to Tokyo earlier this month, to visit Tehran. In reply, the President reportedly said: “I want you to be there…. Shinzo is the only person” qualified to serve as a mediator.


Nikkei wrote that the U.S. and Japan each appear to be playing the role of mediator for the other, explaining that President Trump is doing so to help Abe realize a meeting with Kim Jong Un while Abe intends to assist the President in achieving reconciliation with Tehran.


On the trade front, the prime minister told the press after the summit that he and President Trump reached a consensus for expediting bilateral discussions by lower-ranking officials to conclude quickly a trade liberalization deal that would be “beneficial to both nations.” According to the dailies, the President repeatedly voiced a strong desire to produce concrete results soon after Japan’s Upper House election in July. He was quoted as saying before the bilateral meeting: “Trade-wise, I think we will be announcing some things, probably in August.” He also told the press later: “Just over one week ago, U.S. beef gained full access to Japanese markets for the first time since 2003.  We hope to have even more to announce on the trade very, very soon.”

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