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Presidents Trump, Abe, and Xi

In a recent publication in East Asia Forum, Professor Akaha shared his thoughts on Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s approach to President Trump and dire consequences for Japan-US trade relations and alliance in the fast-changing strategic environment of the Indo-Pacific region.

In the article Akaha points out that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took steps to develop a personalized relationship with President Trump even before he was inaugurated with the aim to put Japan–US relations on a sustainable trajectory. “He has since held more than 40 face-to-face meetings and phone conversations with Trump — but has little to show for it.” Abe’s bet on Japan benefitting from his personal relationship with Trump might backfire according to Akaha, who argues that is likely that the U.S. administration will go ahead with its threats of new tariffs regardless of the outcome of the upcoming Japanese parliamentary elections and that Abe will be seen as having gambled his nation’s economic interests for a relationship with “an unpredictable partner across the Pacific.”

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Eva Gudbergsdottir