Japan's PM Abe to meet Trump next week, pitch importance of alliance

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will seek to establish good personal ties and pitch the importance of the bilateral security alliance when he meets US President-elect Donald Trump in New York next week, officials said on Thursday.

A Japanese government official said the pair had already talked by telephone and confirmed close co-operation, stressing the importance of the Japan-US alliance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Abe will meet Trump in New York next Thursday before going on to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru.

"Trump may take longer than usual to build his administration as he searches for people to fill key policy positions," Tetsuya Otsuru, a senior Japanese foreign ministry official, said in a speech in Tokyo.

"We want to safeguard our alliance with the United States during the transition." Trump's unexpected victory has fanned Japan's anxiety about Washington's commitment to security arrangements in the face of a rising China and a volatile North Korea.

His "America First" rhetoric and calls for Japan and South Korea to pay more of the cost for US troops in the region or face their possible withdrawal have worried officials.

Donald Trump wins US presidency in stunning upset

  • Donald Trump has stunned America and the world, riding a wave of populist resentment to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States.
  • The Republican mogul defeated his Democratic rival, plunging global markets into turmoil and casting the long-standing global political order, which hinges on Washington's leadership, into doubt.
  • "Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division," Trump told a crowd of jubilant supporters in the early hours of Wednesday in New York.
  • "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans." During a bitter two-year campaign that tugged at America's democratic fabric, the bombastic tycoon pledged to deport illegal immigrants, ban Muslims from the country and tear up free trade deals.
  • His message appears to have been embraced by much of America's white majority, disgruntled by the breath and scope of social change and economic change in the last eight years under their first black president, Barack Obama.
  • Trump openly courted Russian leader Vladimir Putin, called US support for NATO allies in Europe into question and suggested that South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear weapons.
  • The businessman turned TV star turned-politico - who has never before held elected office - will become commander-in-chief of the world's sole true superpower on January 20.
  • The results prompted a global market sell-off, with stocks plunging across Asia and Europe and billions being wiped off the value of investments.
  • Although he has no government experience and in recent years has spent as much time running beauty pageants and starring in reality television as he had building his property empire, Trump at 70 will be the oldest man to ever become president.
  • Yet, during his improbable rise, Trump has constantly proved the pundits and received political wisdom wrong.
  • Opposed by the entire senior hierarchy of his own Republican Party, he trounced more than a dozen better-funded and more experienced rivals in the party primary.
  • During the race, he was forced to ride out allegations of sexual assault and was embarrassed but apparently not shamed to have been caught on tape boasting about groping women.
  • And, unique in modern US political history, he refused to release his tax returns.
  • But the biggest upset came on Tuesday, as he swept to victory through a series of hard-fought wins in battleground states from Florida to Ohio.
  • Clinton had been widely assumed to be on course to enter the history books as the first woman to become president in America's 240-year existence.
  • Americans have repudiated her call for unity amid the United States' wide cultural and racial diversity, opting instead for a leader who insisted the country is broken and that "I alone can fix it."
  • If early results hold out, Trump's party will have full control of Congress and he will be able to appoint a ninth Supreme Court justice to a vacant seat on the bench, deciding the balance of the body.
  • So great was the shock that Clinton did not come out to her supporters' poll-watching party to concede defeat, but instead called Trump and sent her campaign chairman to insist in vain the result was too close to call.
  • "I want every person in this hall to know, and I want every person across the country who supported Hillary to know that your voices and your enthusiasm mean so much to her and to him and to all of us. We are so proud of you. And we are so proud of her," chairman John Podesta told shell-shocked supporters.
  • "She's done an amazing job, and she is not done yet," he insisted.
  • Musician Lagy Gaga stages a protest against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on a sanitation truck outside Trump Tower in New York City after midnight on election day November 9, 2016.
  • A street performer dressed as the Statue of Liberty hold photos of U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China November 9, 2016, after Trump won the presidency.
  • A "Naked Cowboy" performer supporting Donald Trump walks through Times Square in New York, November 9, 2016.
  • People react as they watch news on a screen to follow the results of the final day of the US presidential election at an event organised by the American consulate in Shanghai on November 9, 2016.
  • Protesters against president-elect Donald Trump march peacefully through Oakland, California.
  • A separate group earlier in the night set fire to garbage bins and smashed multiple windows.
  • Police officers chase a group of about 50 protesters.
  • University of California, Davis students protest on campus in Davis, California.
  • An invitee places a cookie depicting U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on a table at the US presidential election results watch party at the residence of US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, in Tokyo.

So has his opposition to a 12-nation pan-Pacific trade pact that was a linchpin of Washington's "pivot" to the region. "Abe has big concerns on trade and security and on both of these, candidate Trump has been decidedly unreassuring," said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple Univerity's Japan campus. "Abe will politely try to explain why the alliance is so important and that Trump needs to retreat from some of his assertive rhetoric," Kingston said.

Japanese companies play a key role in the US economy, employing more than 800,000 American workers. They contributed US$78 billion (S$109.6 billion) to US exports in 2014, according to the US embassy in Tokyo.

Japanese officials said they had already been in touch with Trump's advisers but acknowledge they had a better understanding of the policies of defeated Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. "We are certainly concerned about the comments he has made to date about the alliance and the US role in the Pacific," said a Japanese government source. "I hope our team starts working as soon as possible to rectify his perceptions." Abe was quick to offer Trump congratulations, praising his"extraordinary talents" as a businessman. "I very much look forward to closely cooperating with you to further strengthen the bond of the Japan-US alliance," Abe said in a statement after Trump's win was confirmed.

Abe and US President Barack Obama never really appeared to click personally. A ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker said he hoped Abe and Trump could develop the close personal"Ron-Yasu" ties seen between then-president Ronald Reagan and former Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in the 1980s.

"Trump is a practical businessman and he thinks in terms of profit and loss," Masashi Adachi, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's foreign policy panel, told Reuters. "If we explain that the US-Japan alliance is in US interests, he will understand its importance on balance."