Abe aims to strengthen US-Japan ties with Trump

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) listening to US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy during a joint announcement of the return of US military land on the island of Okinawa.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) listening to US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy during a joint announcement of the return of US military land on the island of Okinawa.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking in Parliament hours before US President-elect Donald Trump takes office, said on Friday (Jan 20) he wanted to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance.

Mr Trump sparked worries in Tokyo and the rest of the Asia-Pacific with campaign comments which included a pledge to make allies pay more for the security provided by US forces and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

"The Japan-US alliance has been, is and will be the cornerstone of our country's diplomatic and security policies. This is an immutable principle," Mr Abe said in his policy speech at the start of the regular Parliament session.

"I am aiming to visit the United States as soon as possible to further fortify the bond of alliance together with new President Trump."

Mr Abe met with Mr Trump in New York after the election in November and called him a "trustworthy leader".

In his speech to Parliament, the prime minister repeated his support for TPP, which will go into deep freeze if the United States drops out.