Trump, Former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso Meet to Discuss ‘US–Japan Alliance’

Former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is the latest foreign leader to meet with former President Donald Trump.

Former President Donald Trump met with former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso after appearing in court for his “hush money” trial on April 23, with the two discussing the alliance between their countries.

President Trump met with the 83-year-old Mr. Aso, who currently serves as vice president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, at Trump Tower in Manhattan for an hour-long discussion.

A video shared on social media shows the former president greeting Mr. Aso in the lobby and addressing reporters as they entered the building. President Trump expressed his admiration for Mr. Aso and the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“He’s a highly respected man in Japan and beyond and somebody that I’ve liked and I’ve known through our very dear friend Shinzo,” President Trump told reporters.

“Shinzo was a great friend of mine. He was truly a great man and somebody that we all respected and we really loved. And I miss him greatly.”

President Trump discussed with Mr. Aso “the enduring importance of the U.S.–Japan alliance to both countries’ physical and economic security and to stability in the Indo-Pacific,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.

The pair also discussed challenges posed by China and North Korea amid heightened tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, with President Trump praising Japan’s increased defense spending.

President Trump also praised Mr. Aso for “his long and distinguished career” and reiterated his support and admiration for the Japanese people, the Trump campaign stated.

Commenting on the meeting, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters that Mr. Aso’s visit to New York was “a personal activity” of a lawmaker and that “the government is not involved.”Mr. Aso is the latest foreign leader to meet with the presumptive GOP nominee. President Trump also held meetings with Polish President Andrzej Duda last week and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban last month.

Earlier this month, President Trump held talks with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to discuss Ukraine and Gaza. A spokesperson for the British government said it is “standard practice for ministers to meet with opposition candidates as part of their routine international engagement.”

“Leaders from around the world know that with President Trump we had a safer, more peaceful world,” Trump spokesperson Brian Hughes was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

“Meetings and calls from world leaders reflect the recognition of what we already know here at home. Joe Biden is weak, and when President Trump is sworn in as the 47th President of the United States, the world will be more secure and America will be more prosperous.”

President Trump’s meeting with Mr. Aso came just weeks after President Joe Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House, during which they sought to bolster the partnership between the United States and Japan in various areas, including defense and security cooperation.

President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 12, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 12, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan has been trying to connect with people close to President Trump ahead of the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election, reflecting concerns that if he wins, President Trump could resurrect protectionist trade measures or take other steps that could hurt the Japanese economy or affect strong defense ties with the United States.

Before the meeting, President Trump raised concerns over the U.S. dollar hitting a 34-year high against the Japanese yen, calling it “a total disaster for the United States.”

“When I was President, I spent a good deal of time telling Japan and China, in particular, you can’t do that. It sounds good to stupid people, but it is a disaster for our manufacturers and others,” President Trump stated on Truth Social on April 23.

“This is what made Japan and China into behemoths years ago. I put limits on both (and others!), and if they violated those limits, there was hell to pay. Biden has let it go.”

Reuters contributed to this report.


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