Japan’s Abe Is Trying to Make ‘America First’ Work for Tokyo. So Far, It’s Been a Struggle

Japan’s Abe Is Trying to Make ‘America First’ Work for Tokyo. So Far, It’s Been a Struggle
U.S. President Donald Trump pours the remainder of his fish food into a koi pond at the Akasaka Palace as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks on, Tokyo, Nov. 6, 2017 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

TOKYO, Japan—Just when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believed he had put the relationship with his unpredictable American counterpart on a solid footing, U.S. President Donald Trump threw two curveballs into the mix.

The first was Trump’s snap decision to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, after months of holding to a hard-line approach backed by Japan. The second was the administration’s announcement that it would impose steep tariffs on metal imports, a measure that was notionally targeted at China but could also harm several allies, including Japan, unless they are able to win exemptions. So far, Japan is not among the countries that have been granted relief from the tariff scheme.

Listen to Daniel Hurst discuss this article on WPR’s Trend Lines Podcast. His audio starts at 19:10.

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