Abe to propose plan for creating 700,000 US jobs

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to propose during a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 a bilateral economic co-operation plan, including the creation of a US$450 billion (S$636 billion) market through railways and other infrastructure investments in the United States to generate 700,000 jobs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
PHOTO: Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to propose during a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 a bilateral economic co-operation plan, including the creation of a US$450 billion (S$636 billion) market through railways and other infrastructure investments in the United States to generate 700,000 jobs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Trump has recently been stepping up criticism against the Japanese car market and the depreciation of the yen. Given the circumstances, Abe plans to emphasise during the upcoming talks that the bilateral co-operation will be of great advantage to the US economy.

Japan's PM Abe meets with US President-elect Donald Trump

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York.
  • Photos of US President-elect Donald Trump's landmark first talks with a foreign leader show his daughter Ivanka was present, underscoring the family's influence as he readies to take power.
  • In the meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the mogul's Trump Plaza residence on Thursday, Ivanka - a model-turned-business executive - was seen seated as the group conversed in the opulent reception room.
  • Media were shut out of the gathering in Manhattan, but images released by the Japanese government also showed Ivanka and her husband, real estate developer and publisher Jared Kushner, standing and chatting with Abe.
  • Ivanka and Kushner, both 35, have emerged as key advisers to Trump, who shocked the world by beating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election.
  • "We were able to have a very candid talk over a substantial amount of time. We held it in a very warm atmosphere," Abe told reporters after their meeting at the billionaire's Manhattan skyscraper.
  • World leaders have scrambled to establish ties with Trump but Abe was the first to see him in person since a vote that has provoked anxiety over US foreign policy and Washington's commitment to security in Asia.
  • Abe told reporters afterwards that the encounter convinced him the US president-elect was someone "in whom I can have great confidence".

A draft for the Japan-US economic co-operation plan sets forth bilateral co-operation in five fields as the "Japan-US growth and employment initiative." The five fields are: development of the world's most advanced infrastructure in the United States; drawing on demand for infrastructure around the world; research and development of robots and artificial intelligence; collaboration in new areas such as cyber and space; and co-operation in employment and defence.

The envisioned infrastructure development in the United States includes high-speed railway projects in the northeastern part of the country, and in Texas and California, to which Japan would provide technical co-operation and extend low-interest loans. Japan would also help replace as many as 3,000 train cars currently in use on railways and subways with new models over the next 10 years.

Japan would further co-operate in highly efficient gas-fired power generation and the latest compact nuclear power generation systems.

In the research and development field, the draft calls for co-operation between Japan, which has the edge in robot technology, and the United States, which leads the world in AI technology.

Japan and the United States will jointly develop robots to be used for inspecting aging infrastructure, decommissioning nuclear power plants, and carrying out medical diagnosis and surgery.

In addition to autonomous cars, the draft also sets a goal of developing autonomous planes and ships.

Read also: Toyota a Japanese brand, but also a US manufacturer, says company president

With China in mind, Abe plans to propose strengthening the implementation of trade rules to cope with oversupply of steel, aluminium and other metals as well as illegal acquisition of intellectual property.

Japan and the United States would jointly work on creating common rules related to e-commerce, government procurement, labour and other issues so that Japanese and US companies will be able to operate under fair conditions, even in "non-market economies" where preferential treatment is given to state-owned enterprises and free competition among private companies is not guaranteed.

Abe is expected to explain the proposals directly to Trump in their planned meeting on Feb. 10. He is also expected to propose that the two countries lead the world in trade rules and technological development.

Read also: Trump to seek quick progress with Japan's Abe on replacement trade deal

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