By Mitoji Yabunaka, former Vice Foreign Minister
U.S. President Donald Trump clearly stated at the Japan-U.S. joint press conference that he is “not thinking” about the kind of regime change in Iran that is being sought by hardliners within his administration. This is consistent with Japan’s stance. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s comment that a war should be avoided was also timely. Japan’s diplomatic stance of trying to mediate between the U.S. and Iran is highly commendable.
It was very significant that President Trump expressed renewed interest in the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea. The latest Japan-U.S. summit was an opportunity to send a message to Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un that President Trump attaches importance to talks with North Korea and the abduction issue.
Japan-U.S. trade negotiations need to be consistent with the U.S.’s negotiations with the EU focusing on the auto issue. By paying attention to the speed of the U.S.-EU negotiations, Japan should proceed with the negotiations in such a way that it will not be put at a disadvantage.