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Japan PM Abe and Trump to hold two-day summit

Japan PM Abe and Trump to hold two-day summitJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are planning to extend their summit meeting scheduled for February 10 by one day, Reuters reported on Thursday.

After meeting with Trump in Washington, officials are arranging for Abe to then meet Trump at his Mar-a-Lago private resort in Florida on February 11, where they may even play golf, the sources, familiar with the matter, said.

Trade and currency policy are likely to be high on the agenda during the summit. Trump has criticized the lack of access to the Japanese auto market for U.S. producers and said Tokyo is using monetary policy to devalue its currency.

Japan is expected to defend its auto sector, which has built many manufacturing plants in the United States. Japan is also expected to emphasize that its monetary policy is intended to spur inflation and not trigger competitive devaluation.

A Japanese government spokesman said the details of Abe's trip haven't been decided yet.

Just days before the summit with Trump Abe said he would meet the head of Toyota Motor Corp on Friday, as the company came under fire from U.S. President.

Trump, who has pledged to put America first when it comes to trade, has rattled Japan by criticizing the low number of U.S. cars sold in Japan and by demanding that more cars sold in the United States be made locally.

Abe, speaking in parliament on Thursday, said the meeting was arranged months ago, but this will do little to quell speculation that he will pass on some instructions to Japan's top automaker about how to avoid Trump's protectionist ire.

The stakes are high because Japan's politically powerful auto industry is a major contributor to exports and economic growth. If Trump curbs Japanese auto exports, either from Japan or from plants in Mexico, this could slow Japan's economy.

Some Japanese policymakers worry Trump will consider limits on Japanese auto imports, which make up about 75 percent of Japan's trade surplus with the United States.

Toyota should be considered a U.S. manufacturer because it already makes cars in the United States, President Akio Toyoda said on Thursday. Toyoda also told reporters that his meeting with Abe was unconfirmed.
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