Japan’s prime minister has forged a close personal relationship with president Trump, but Trump’s fiery rhetoric about North Korea has many Japanese nervous. A retired Japanese diplomat weighs in.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Watching the escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States closely is Japan. The president had this to say earlier this week.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think Japan is very happy with the job we’re doing. I think they’re very impressed with the job that we’re doing. And let’s see how it turns out.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We’re going to hear from someone in Tokyo, Japan, right now, that country’s former ambassador to Washington, Ichiro Fujisaki. Welcome, sir, to the program.
ICHIRO FUJISAKI: Thank you very much.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So are the Japanese feeling reassured by President Trump’s rhetoric? Japan, after all, is the only country in the world that has suffered a nuclear attack.
FUJISAKI: Yes. We are very concerned about North Korean missiles and nuclear tests because it’s coming very close to us so many times. And compared to, for example, 15, 20 years ago, we are rather reassured because U.S. is getting more serious about this. I think this is because of the extension of the missiles’ range. It’s coming nearer to the United States. And I think Mr. Trump’s statement is good to make it clear to defend allies. So I think Japan and Republic of Korea are rest assured for that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has forged a close relationship with President Trump. He visited him even before the inauguration and then again at Mar-a-Lago. Is this close relationship a political liability or help for Prime Minister Abe?
FUJISAKI: I think it’s a great help for him because Japan’s defense is totally dependent on United States, and we need U.S. deterrence. So in a time of crisis, if the U.S. president is reassuring Japan, I think this…