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Politics

Japan's Abe eyes 'Trump factor' in Russia policy

In the wake of the shock result of the U.S. presidential election, much has been written about the negative implications for Japan of a Trump presidency. These concerns arise from the U.S. president-elect's campaign comments suggesting that Japan develop its own nuclear deterrent and demanding that Tokyo pay more for the upkeep of U.S. bases in the country. These remarks, in combination with his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, have raised questions about Trump's commitment to Washington's close ties with Japan.

The Japanese leadership, which was clearly banking on a Hillary Clinton presidency, has moved quickly to try to assuage doubts about the U.S.-Japan alliance, a relationship that has served as a pillar of regional stability -- and one of the world's most important international alliances -- since the end of World War II. In particular, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will travel to New York to meet with Trump on Nov. 17. This is an unusual step, as Japanese leaders do not usually meet with U.S. presidents-elect before their inauguration. Abe has also sent his special adviser, Katsuyuki Kawai, to Washington this week -- belatedly to develop contacts with the Trump camp.

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