Japan rejects Washington opposition as Putin visits Tokyo

The impact Trump is having even before he assumes office is becoming apparent, both domestically and on the international stage.

He is just the President-elect but it seems that shifts are already taking place in geo-political alignments. It seems that Trump is going to be a non-ideological, transactional and rather pragmatic President. Everything is going to be on the table and everything is going to be about negotiation.  China already has understood that they will have to “offer” something to get the new US to continue with the One-China policy. Iran has also understood that a new negotiation is underway. Ideological regime change is no longer an objective. Domestically, the defense industry is understanding that their normal cosy, bloated, overcharging of the government will be resisted. Trump needs to cut public spending drastically to allow his infrastructure projects to go ahead. Industry in general is getting the message loud and clear that there will be tax breaks for creating jobs and tax penalties for shifting them abroad.

Well, we shall see.

In the meantime the Obama administration has been trying to get Prime Minister Abe to cancel or, at least, postpone an Abe/Putin summit in Japan. But what the Obama administration wants no longer carries much weight.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold talks on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima last month. | KYODO

The Japan Times:

Japan has disregarded U.S. opposition to a planned bilateral summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tokyo later this week, diplomatic sources said.

Last month Washington repeatedly conveyed its objection to the Abe-Putin meeting in the capital out of concern that it might relieve pressure on Moscow by the Group of Seven economies, but on Thursday Japan formally announced the summit for Friday, as well as another meeting in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Thursday. The administration of President Barack Obama has been critical of Russia over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and for backing the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Abe wants to maintain good relations with Russia in hopes of achieving a breakthrough in the decades-old territorial dispute between the two nations and concluding a postwar peace treaty. The Japanese government’s decision to go ahead with staging a summit with Putin in Tokyo highlights a rift between Tokyo and Washington on the issue. …..

The U.S. government voiced concern that staging such a meeting in Tokyo could send the wrong message that the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations is not totally united in pressuring Moscow, the sources said.

The Japanese government is believed to have told Washington that the Russian leader’s visit should not be seen as according Putin special favors as he will not be granted a meeting with Emperor Akihito.

A Japanese government source said, “Although Japan needs to play a role as a G-7 member, it is also natural for us to pursue national interests and holding a summit meeting in Tokyo causes no problem.”


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