JAPAN’S PIVOT FROM OBAMA TO TRUMP

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From The New Yorker:

“The recent Presidential election in the United States has changed the calculation for Abe in unexpected ways. Donald Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton certainly doomed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade pact on which Abe—and Obama—staked significant political capital. But it may end up helping Abe achieve his goals for Japan’s constitution and its military.

As a candidate, Trump seemed decidedly unfriendly toward Japan. At his rallies, he rekindled the Japan-bashing rhetoric of the nineteen-eighties, invoking the spectre of long-resolved trade disputes, and he seemed, at times, to conflate Japan with China. Then he strayed even further from traditional East Asian policy by threatening to quash a fifty-six-year-old U.S. security alliance with Japan, which remains a crucial check on Chinese hegemony and North Korean aggression.

“You know we have a treaty with Japan, where if Japan is attacked we have to use the full force and might of the United States,” Trump said during the campaign. “If we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to do anything. They can sit home and watch Sony television, O.K.?”

But then, on November 17th, Abe became the first world leader to meet with President-elect Trump, and the two men reportedly plan to meet again in late January, after Trump takes office. (According to the Japan Times, five weeks before the election, Michael T. Flynn, whom Trump has since chosen as his national-security adviser, secretly met with Abe’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, during a trip to Tokyo, and told him that the military alliance between the U.S. and Japan would remain intact under a Trump Presidency.)”

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