On November 18th Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe met with president-elect Donald Trump in Manhattan to discuss a number of key issues surrounding the two countries.
Dubbed as an informal meeting, the two men were also accompanied by Donald’s daughter Ivanka, a gesture which is already making a number of pundits feel uncomfortable.
However unorthodox the meeting may have been, the sheer presence of Ivanka at the meeting serves as a subconscious signal to others that we can expect Trump to be open and confident with the people he surrounds himself in office.
On his campaign trail, Trump was openly critical of the trade and defense deals that the US has with other countries. He’s specifically signaled-out the relationship America has with Japan, citing that America gets very little in return from Japan for their defense agreement (dating back from all the way since after WWII).
As was previously observed from Trump’s meeting with Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto, when you have Trump threatening to challenge the status quo with others on the world stage- you know he means business.
Perhaps that is why Abe described Trump as being a leader he can trust, because he has respect for a strong and competent leader like Trump who puts the interest of his country first – and not the potential relationship with foreign interest (however much it may involve Japan).
Deals can be re-negotiated, and with that in mind, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that Japan would be at the losing end. It would just mean that the restructure of relations would reflect reality more so than the inflated ideals it strives to maintain.