Japan’s Abe to be first foreign leader to meet Trump

Japan’s Abe to be first foreign leader to meet TrumpJapan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is going to become the first foreign leader to meet US President-elect Donald Trump, according to BBC.

Shinzo Abe said he wanted to "build trust" and "work together for prosperity and world peace", before leaving for his trip.

The meeting in New York comes amid concern over the foreign policy direction of Tokyo's biggest ally.

Trump has said Japan needs to pay more to maintain U.S. troops on its soil. He also condemned a major trade deal struck by President Obama with Japan and other Pacific Rim countries.

Abe is stopping in New York on his way to an Asia-Pacific trade summit in Peru.

But details of Thursday's meeting are unclear, with a Japanese official saying exactly where it will happen has not been firmed up.

"There has been a lot of confusion," a Japanese official said.

It remains unclear who else might be at the meeting with Abe. High-level talks are rarely held in such an informal context and Tokyo is keen to minimise uncertainty during the long handover of power.

"We want to safeguard our alliance with the United States during the transition," said a senior Japanese foreign ministry official, Tetsuya Otsuru, when the meeting was announced.

Donald Trump has suggested the U.S. could pull troops out if Japan does not start paying more for them. Tokyo currently spends $1.7bn on their support, including the costs of running US bases, which are unpopular with many in Okinawa where most are located.

The president-elect also stunned Japan on the campaign trail by floating the idea that it and South Korea might be better off acquiring nuclear weapons to protect themselves against North Korea.

Japan, the only country to have had nuclear weapons used against it, has a pacifist constitution and is resolutely opposed to arming itself with nuclear weapons.
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