By Osamu Maruyama / Japan News Staff WriterOSAKA — A Japan-U.S. summit meeting was held on Friday amid concern over the bilateral relationship caused by a media report that U.S. President Donald Trump had considered withdrawing from a security treaty with Japan.
According to the White House, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “confirmed their intent to deepen and expand U.S.-Japan alliance cooperation around the globe” at the meeting.
But Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, was forced to damp down speculation of cracks between the two countries after the meeting in Osaka, where the Group of 20 summit meeting opened on the day. “Trump did not mention reviewing the Japan-U.S. security treaty,” Nishimura said repeatedly in response to reporters’ questions.
This week, the Bloomberg news agency reported that Trump had a negative position on the treaty, saying the U.S. leader is dissatisfied with the treaty because it is “too one-sided.” After that, Trump again made a critical comment about Japan in an interview with the U.S. television network Fox Business, saying that even if the United States is attacked, “Japan doesn’t have to help us at all” and “can watch it on a Sony television.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, top government spokesman, contradicted the news agency’s report on Tuesday, saying, “There is not a story like the report.”
“The two leaders held a frank exchange of views, although I would like to refrain from giving further details,” Nishimura said on Friday in Osaka.
On the other hand, Trump sent a clear message of fully supporting Japan on issues related to North Korea.
According to the Japanese government, the two leaders spent a “considerable amount of time assimilating their policies” over North Korea. Abe reaffirmed his determination to “directly face” the country’s leader Kim Jong Un to resolve the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals as soon as possible. To this, Trump expressed his full support for Abe’s resolve.
Abe also had a bilateral talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday evening on the sidelines of the G20 summit, where Xi told Abe the results of his visit to North Korea earlier this month. Xi reportedly conveyed Abe’s stance to Kim. Japan hopes the G20 summit will be an opportunity to take an important step toward resolving the abduction issue.
On trade issues, Abe and Trump confirmed their position of accelerating talks between Japan’s economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to build a win-win relationship.
A Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial conference was also held on Friday in Osaka. According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Taro Kono and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exchanged their views on regional situations including North Korea and confirmed they would continue to work closely.Speech