Abe's bromance with Trump is going spectacularly awry

It's been just over a week since Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "love fest" with US President Donald Trump. Yet their rendezvous in Tokyo already feels as if it occurred in another era, given the Trumpian frenzy since.

Mr Abe had invited Mr Trump to Tokyo to celebrate the end of the Heisei and the advent of the Reiwa imperial era. But really, the charm offensive was about sheltering Japan from an erratic, anti-trade White House; the sumo, the wagyu dinners, the golf, the first meeting by a world leader with the new Japanese emperor - all flattering gestures aimed at softening blows from Washington.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'Abe's bromance with Trump is going spectacularly awry'. Print Edition | Subscribe