PM planning to visit Washington later this month

TOKYO —

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit Washington later this month for a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Abe has picked the U.S. as the first destination of his official overseas trip, saying that he wants to rebuild the alliance which he said had become strained by the previous DPJ-led government.

“Japan must strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy,” Abe said during his first speech as prime minister last week. “That will be the key to re-stabilizing Japan’s regional diplomatic relations.”

During the summit in Washington, expected to take place after Obama’s inauguration, Abe and Obama are likely to discuss North Korea, China’s increased maritime activity and two thorny issues—Japan’s particpation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks and the proposed relocation of the U.S. air base from Futenma to Henoko.

During the election campaign, Abe criticized former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for mishandling foreign policy. However, Abe is likely to face the same difficulties as Noda. The Obama administration wants Japan to take part in the TPP talks, but Japan’s strong agricultural sector is against participation. Regarding the Futenma issue, Abe’s stance is to stick to the original agreement with Washington and move the base to Henoko, but Henoko citizens vehemently oppose the plan.

Japan Today

  • -2

    warispeace

    Seems like Abe has been summoned by his US masters. Every PM, once he takes office, within a few weeks dutifully makes a trip to Washington. Almost 70 years since the end of the Pacific War and Japan is still occupied.

  • 0

    Kapuna

    warispeace, US masters? really? Japan can walk away any time it wants. What do you think the U.S. would or could do to Japan, if Japan decided to end the alliance?

  • -1

    globalwatcher

    warispeace, the way the Japan/US Peace Treaty is written, Japan can walk away any time.

  • -2

    warispeace

    @Kapuna, @globalwatcher

    Just look at Noda's statements below from the article. Is this really the speech of a Prime Minister of a sovereign nation?

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Noda: Japan has no choice in Osprey deployment plan

    Kyodo

    Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Monday the government has no choice but to accept Washington's plan to deploy the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey in Okinawa later this year despite local safety concerns and fierce residential opposition.

    "The deployment itself is a plan by the U.S. government" and Tokyo does not play a part in Washington's decisions, although Japan, for its part, will check the safety of the aircraft before the trial flights scheduled for late July begin at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Noda said on a television program. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120717b2.html

  • -1

    Serrano

    "Regarding the Futenma issue, Abe's stance is to stick to the original agreement with Washington and move the base to Henoko, but Henoko residents vehemently oppose the plan"

    Yeah, just like the farmers in Chiba vehemently opposed the plan to build Narita Airport.
    It still got built for the benefit of the majority.

  • -2

    Badge213

    "US Masters"? What? Japan at anytime can end the relationship and tell the US forces to pack it up and get out.

    Then when that happens, watch as China sends it's ships and troops onto the Senkaku Islands.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    war is peace, I suggest to go back to the original documents of Japan/US Treaty. Thanks.

  • 0

    ka_chan

    If Abe is a good politician, he would wait until May or late March at the earliest. There is a thing called timing.

  • 0

    bruinfan

    @Dog

    I agree. Anyway by the time there is another important high-level meeting with the US, Abe will (be) retired.

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