Shinzo Abe to meet Donald Trump amid challenges at home and overseas

China FM visits Japan for talks on N Korea, regional issues

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The two leaders are expected to talk about trade and other top issues such as North Korea during Abe's visit to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort that starts Tuesday.

Experts say the outcome of their summit could boost or further undermine Abe's leadership at home.

As my colleagues report, the Trump administration has recently ruffled feathers in Tokyo.

The CIA created the Korea Mission Center in May 2017 as North Korea engaged in dozens of missile tests.

Abe will likely try to get Trump to reverse his decision to include Japan in new steel and aluminum tariffs.

China and Japan made efforts to move their bilateral relationship forward on Sunday, when the countries' foreign ministers met in Tokyo, in itself a major development ahead of the trilateral summit with South Korea to be held in May.

"Abe thought he and Trump were on the same page in opposing talks and maximising pressure - until Trump pulled the rug out from under him", Professor Kingston said.

"When the current Diet term ends, that would be a good time for Abe to resign".

Kono said that regardless of the country provoking this collision, it would have great impact on prosperity of world economy.

Lawyer of fired FBI Deputy Dir. McCabe may file defamation suit vs
The Trump administration suddenly fired McCabe weeks ago, just days before he was set to retire and receive his pension. As deputy director of the FBI , Andrew McCabe "admonished" other FBI officials over leaks he himself authorized.

Finally, both Abe and Trump need a political boost.

Japan wants Trump to avoid a deal in which Pyongyang gives up ballistic missiles that can hit the USA mainland but keeps shorter-range missiles that threaten Japan. The surprise announcement that Trump will meet with the North Korean leader was a bit of a body blow to the Abe cabinet.

The second could be harder to attain: a statement from Trump that there will be no relaxation of pressure on North Korea, or any change in the USA -led military readiness or exercises, until Pyongyang takes verifiable steps to denuclearize. "If Trump makes rapid progress in his talks with Kim, that could put Abe in a very disadvantageous position". The veteran leader said candidates of the party would not be confident if they were led by Abe. The turn in North Korea's policy, expressed by Kim's conciliatory remarks, is regarded in Tokyo as a result of the maximum pressure strategy against the DPRK, which Japan always supported.

"If successful, it would undo one of the worst blunders of his administration, which has not exactly been error-free", wrote Edward Alden for the Nikkei Asian Review.

Even a new trade agreement may not reduce America's trade deficit with Japan by much. "The risk of a transactional "America First" foreign policy is that it plants doubts on allies as to whether joint interests will guide American strategy and actions", wrote Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution.

"Abe appears unable to shake off the scandals", said Graham, though he pointed out "there was a time when serving Japanese Prime Ministers would be lucky to register more than 20% popularity ratings".

One Chinese scholar noted Beijing's uncertainty regarding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's motivation to improve ties with China.

As for trade and economic issues, they are not simple for Abe either.

Fukuda denied the allegations, while Finance Minister Taro Aso faces criticism for neither firing his deputy nor investigating the matter.

Koizumi, who was Prime Minister from 2001-06, told Aera magazine published on Monday that Abe has found himself in a "dangerous" situation over the scandals.

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