Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has said that he has “great confidence” in the President-elect of the United States of America, Donald Trump, adding that he believes that both countries can build a relationship of trust.
Abe flew in to meet with Trump at the Trump Tower in New York on Thursday, and later described the 90-minute meeting as “candid”, and with a “warm atmosphere”.
The meeting was Trump’s first face-to-face with a world leader since winning the presidential election.
The United States and Japan have been key allies since the end of World War II, when the US helped Japan to rebuild its economy.
Trump had during his campaign said that Japan needs to pay more to maintain US troops on its soil, and also suggested that Japan and South Korea should develop their own nuclear weapons to counter the threat from North Korean missiles.
He also vowed to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Abe strenuously supports as a means of countering China’s growing economic strength.
The deal was approved by the Japanese parliament, despite the likelihood that it would be cancelled when Trump takes office.
Abe’s meeting with Trump was reportedly arranged when the Japan Prime Minister called the president-elect to congratulate him, mentioning that he would be passing through New York on the way to an Asia-Pacific trade summit in Peru.
Speaking after the meeting, Abe said: “We were able to have a very candid talk over a substantial amount of time. We held it in a very warm atmosphere.
“I do believe that without confidence between the two nations the alliance would never function in the future and as the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence.”
The Japanese leader gave few details of the meeting but added the two agreed to meet again for deeper talks on a wider range of issues.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, who have emerged as key advisers to Trump since his surprise election victory, also met with the Japanese Prime Minister.
Media speculation over her role has included the possibility of her becoming ambassador to Japan.
In the days since the election, Trump has been speaking to dozens of world leaders as well as possible cabinet appointees from his home and office inside the Manhattan skyscraper.
Elsewhere, vice president-elect and Trump transition committee chairman, Mike Pence has said he is confident Donald Trump’s administration can work with Democrats.
Emerging from meetings with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Pence said he looks “forward to finding ways that we can find common ground and move the country forward”.