Abe to stress on importance of Japan-US ties

Narendra Modi, Indias prime minister, left, waves as Shinzo Abe, Japans prime minister, looks on during a visit to a plant of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.s Rolling Stock Co. in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Modi meets Abe in Japan, almost a year after the Indian leader picked Japan as a partner for the nations first line -- a 980-billion-rupee (15 billion) rail linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad, roughly the distance from Paris to London. Abe hopes that will make Japan the front-runner if India implements five other planned lines. Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pic) aims to underscore the importance of the Japan-US alliance when he meets President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said yesterday.

“This is going to be an important meeting to build trust,” Kishida told public broadcaster NHK. “We also would like to use this opportunity to input the importance of the Japan-US alliance, as well.”

With Abe set to meet Trump in New York on his way to an Asia-Pacific summit in Peru, Tokyo has been seeking clarity on what direction the Republican political novice wants for bilateral relations after he made comments on the campaign trail that were at odds with longstanding policies.

Kishida reiterated Japan’s long-standing position that it has no plans to possess nuclear weapons. During his campaign, Trump left open the possibility that Japan – the only country to have suffered a nuclear bombing – might adopt nuclear weapons. “I don’t believe Japan will possess nuclear arms. This principle won't change,” he said.

Trump’s campaign comments on Japan’s nuclear armament and his demand that Japan pay more for the upkeep of US forces on its soil have worried Tokyo about a possible rift in a security alliance with Washington that has been the bedrock of its defence since World War Two.

Defence Minister Tomomi Inada told the same NHK programme that Japan is already shouldering enough financial burden to support US troops deployed in Japan. “Japan is making sufficient contribution,” she said. “I would like to continue underscoring that Japan is going to strengthen its own defence posture both in quality and quantity, strengthen the Japan-US alliance and strengthen ties with other relevant countries.” – Reuters

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