Home English News Japan’s Abe holds “very candid” discussion with Trump

Japan’s Abe holds “very candid” discussion with Trump

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New York/Tokyo  – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first foreign leader to hold face-to-face talks with Donald Trump on Thursday, despite remarks made during the president-elect’s campaign which alarmed Tokyo.

“Despite his extremely busy schedule, he was kind enough to receive me,” Abe told reporters following the meeting in New York.

He said the pair had had a “very candid discussion” in a “warm atmosphere” but declined to provide details of the unofficial meeting.

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A man wearing a Shinzo Abe mask shakes hands with a man wearing a Donald Trump mask on Halloween at Tokyo’s famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing, October 29, 2016. Abe became the first foreign leader to hold face-to-face talks with Trump on Thursday, despite remarks made during the president-elect’s campaign which alarmed Tokyo. (Credit Image: © Alessandro Di Ciommo via ZUMA Wire)

“I renewed my conviction that, together with Mr Trump, I will be able to build a personal relationship of trust,” Abe said after the 90-minute meeting at Trump’s gilded Manhattan penthouse.

Japan’s media christened Trump the “king of verbal abuse” during his election campaign, which was dogged by accusations of racism, misogyny and sexual assault.

Trump sparked concern in Tokyo when he repeatedly said that Japan, which hosts several US military bases, should pay more for its protection, especially amid rising nuclear threats from North Korea and growing Chinese military might.

The bombastic billionaire also suggested that Japan may want to pursue the acquisition of nuclear weapons, a deeply sensitive issue in Japan, which is the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack.

In addition, Japanese business leaders are wary of Trump’s protectionist stance after he promised to reduce imports into the US and support more manufacturing at home.

-dpa