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Abe, Trump agree to accelerate Japan-U.S. trade talks

By Hiroki Kosuge

Osaka, June 28 (Jiji Press) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to accelerate talks on concluding a bilateral trade pact.

At the meeting, held in Osaka ahead of the start of the Group of 20 summit in the western Japan city later in the day, Trump noted that his country has been running trade deficits with Japan.

In response, Abe touted Japanese firms’ robust investment in the United States, saying that a total of 16 investment contracts were signed in the past three months.

Since the inauguration of the Trump administration in January 2017, Japanese companies have invested 24.4 billion dollars in the United States and helped create 47,000 new jobs in the country, Abe added, seeking the U.S. leader’s understanding for the contributions.

Abe and Trump did not talk about a deadline for concluding the bilateral trade negotiations, a Japanese government source with access to the meeting said.

The bilateral summit came after Abe and Trump met in Washington in April and in Tokyo in May.

The fact that they met for the third straight month is a proof of the strong Japan-U.S. alliance, Abe said.

Meanwhile, they stopped short of discussing a possible review of the Japan-U.S. security alliance, according to the Japanese side.

Trump has complained about the heavy U.S. burden under the security treaty between the two nations.

“If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III. We will go in and protect them with our lives and with our treasure,” Trump said in a recent interview with Fox Business News. He added: “But if we are attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch on a Sony television the attack.”

Elsewhere in the bilateral meeting, Abe and Trump agreed to closely cooperate to make the G-20 summit a success and help the participating economies issue a strong message highlighting their pledge to contributions to sustainable growth of the global economy.

The Abe-Trump meeting was also participated by Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. From the U.S. side, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer joined the meeting.

At a meeting held later on Friday, Abe, Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the view that the three countries’ cooperation is of great significance for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

They also agreed that Japan, the United States and India will work together at various levels to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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