Special Forum

Having said that, who the sitting US president is does matter a lot to Japan. Despite former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s efforts to establish a strong relationship with both Obama and Trump, he seems to have stronger personal ties with Trump. Obama and he did manage to have a good working relationship and moved some important diplomatic agenda items forward such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. However, Abe seemed to benefit more from the close “friendship” with Trump in terms of elevating Japan as a specially trusted ally of the US in the eyes of the international community. He was also able to secure support in advancing Japan’s grand “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” vision.

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