Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and United States President Barack Obama said after their meeting on Friday, February 22, that both countries will work together for the promotion of a more stable region with a strong economy. According to Abe, “the trust and the bond” between Japan and the US have been restored; while Obama told the press later on that the alliance made by the two is the “central foundation for our regional security and so much of what we do in the Pacific region.”
Abe said both countries had to maintain a firm disposition as regards North Korea, which recently conducted a nuclear test amidst calls from the international community not to proceed with it. “We agreed that we would co-operate with each other in dealing resolutely with North Korea.” As regards the territorial dispute with China, he said that Japan would go about the situation in a “calm manner.” Abe has already said before that support from the US was very important in the bitter row between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
After Abe’s White House visit, a joint statement was released that both countries will continue to negotiate regarding Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a planned free-trade agreement between countries in Asia, North America, and Europe. Remember that Japan has been thinking of taking part in the TPP for some time now. However, farmers have opposed this saying that tariff removals will cause their industry to take a plunge.
The relationship of the two was damaged a little bit under the previous administration. The problem revolved around the relocation of the military bases in the Okinawa Prefecture. It seems now that ties are healing, especially since Abe has been very outspoken as to prioritizing the Japan-US alliance in a shifting regional environment.[via BBC]