Japanese PM told Trump remarks shouldn't be taken literally

  • 17/11/2016
Trump (Reuters)
Trump (Reuters)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday and a senior adviser to Mr Abe says he's been told that campaign remarks calling the Japan-US alliance into question shouldn't be taken literally.

Mr Abe is due to meet Mr Trump in New York on Thursday and is expected to be the first foreign leader to meet the president- elect since his election last week.

Mr Trump's transition team has not responded to requests for comment on the meeting, but an adviser to Mr Trump, speaking anonymously, said this week that Mr Trump would seek to reassure Abe and other Asian allies rattled by his campaign rhetoric.

Mr Trump had fanned worries in Tokyo and beyond with his comments on the possibility of Japan acquiring nuclear arms and demands that allies pay more for the upkeep of US forces on their soil or face the possibility of their withdrawal.

Katsuyuki Kawai, an adviser to Mr Abe sent to set up the meeting with Mr Trump, said he had spoken to several Trump advisers since arriving in Washington on Monday.

"I have been meeting with so many top aides to the president-elect and also I have been meeting with the very distinguished senators and congressmen and they unanimously told me that we don't have to take each word that Mr Trump said publicly literally," he told Reuters.

Mr Kawai said that among the Trump advisers he had met were Representative Devin Nunes, Senator Tom Cotton, and the presidents of the conservative Heritage Foundation and Hudson Institute think tanks, Jim DeMint and Ken Weinstein.

Mr Kawai said the fact that Abe would be the first foreign leader Mr Trump would meet since winning the presidency on November 8 was "a meaningful signal" and Mr Abe's aim was "to establish the highest level personal ties with the president-elect."

"That meeting will be the first for building up the great personal relationship between two leaders," he said.

"Prime Minister Abe will definitely talk about the importance of the Japan-US alliance and that alliance is not only for Japan and the United States, but also for the entire Indo-Pacific region as well as world politics."