While North Korea has been changing drastically, President Trump held a summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe on April 17 and 18, aiming to confirm the strengthening of its ties with Japan under the US-Japan alliance in advance of the upcoming US-North Korea summit meeting. On the whole, the meeting was successful. Both of them reconfirmed their strategy to claim North Korea to fulfill the denuclearization, and Japan’s security under the US-Japan Security Treaty. In addition, President Trump promised Prime Minister Abe that he would urge North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to release Japanese abductees promptly.
On the other hand, it turned out that the economic, trade and investment issues became difficult. President Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with the gap in the trade balance between the US and Japan referring to the US trade deficit with Japan. Thus, the President insisted that the US should aim at a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. On the contrary, Japan is now expecting the trade issue to be resolved within the framework of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is a multinational agreement. Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy in charge of TPP, will have a hard time in negotiating with the US trade representative on the issue.