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Japan PM pledges ‘unchanging’ allegiance to U.S. under Trump

  • Japan's Emperor Akihito reads a statement to formally open the ordinary Diet session at the upper house of parliament in Tokyo, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO >> Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday (Thursday in Hawaii) that he plans to visit the U.S. as soon as possible to meet with incoming U.S. President Donald Trump.

Speaking on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, he called the U.S.-Japan alliance an “unchanging principle” for his country’s foreign and security policy.

His urgency to meet Trump reflects worries in Japan about how Trump’s “America first” policy will affect U.S. commitments to the Asia region, as well as fallout from any heightened tensions with China and North Korea.

Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump after the U.S. election, making a stop in New York in November on his way to a summit in Latin American.

“The Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of our country’s foreign and security policy, in the past, present and in the future,” Abe told parliament in an annual policy address. “It’s an unchanging principle.”

Abe said he wants to meet Trump to deepen that relationship further. Trump will be sworn in as president Friday.

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