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February 17, 2017

[SSJ: 9711] Abe-Trump Summit

From: "Richard Katz"
Date: 2017/02/17

Foreign Affairs ran my take on the Abe-Trump summit at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/japan/2017-02-16/trump-and-japan?cid=soc-fb-rdr (no paywall).


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe got even more out of his February 19­
–20 summit with U.S. President Donald Trump than he had expected. The
question is how long their apparent goodwill can last, especially given
the anti-Japan mood of much of Trump’s voting base.

During the meeting, Abe won virtually all the affirmations on security
issues that he had sought…In addition, Abe avoided being publicly
criticized by Trump on any of the issues on which Trump had lambasted
Tokyo prior to the summit, including accusations of currency
manipulation and security freeriding….

Abe also apparently evaded entanglement in Trump’s notion of a
bilateral free-trade agreement, in which binding rules against alleged
currency manipulation would be a prominent feature. Tokyo believes Japan
has much more to lose than to gain from any bilateral trade pact…

The problem for Abe is that Trump cannot permanently abandon his tough
posture with Japan (and other countries) without being criticized as “
all talk, no action” by the blue-collar voters in five pivotal Rust
Belt states that these voters swung from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016.
And the problem for Trump is that there is no way he can deliver on his
promise to end trade deficits and “bring back” jobs supposedly taken
by Japan and others.

Richard Katz
The Oriental Economist Report

Approved by ssjmod at February 17, 2017 03:03 PM