Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe will visit the White House on April 26 to April 27, the White House announced Friday.
“The meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe will reaffirm the United States–Japan alliance as the cornerstone of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world,” the White House said in a statement.
Trump and Abe will discuss developments regarding North Korea, as well as explore ways to “advance their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region” — the concept shared by the U.S., Japan, and like-minded nations that the region spanning from the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean remain “free and open.”
Those ways will include steps to strengthen the U.S.-Japanese bilateral trade and investment relationship, the White House said.
The White House also announced that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump would travel to Japan from May 25 to May 28, to become the first state guests to meet with the new Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
“The state visit will deepen the close bonds between the American and Japanese people and will highlight the continued importance of our alliance and partnership,” the White House said.
“After meeting with Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe,” it said.
The Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya met with Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan on Friday, in advance of the White House meetings next week.
“It’s so good to have you back in the Pentagon,” Shanahan told Iwaya. “It feels like just yesterday you were here. Even though we’ve only worked together a few times, it feels like we’ve worked together a long time.”
“I think we’re in the very opportunistic situation where now we can do integration and execution. Both our strategies are well-defined and well-developed. Now is our chance to bring them together,” he said about each nation’s defense strategies. “I had the team put them side by side, and I wanted to show you today all the overlap, and the places where they fit very well together.”
“I wrote an equation today. Success equals the alliance plus the commitment plus leadership, and you have shown great strong leadership and I expect because of our ability to work together we will see much success,” he told Iwaya. “I look forward to us rolling up our sleeves today and working together.”
Iwaya told Shanahan through an interpreter, “It is a great honor to meet you again here in the Pentagon since we last met this January.”
“When I talked with you Mr. Secretary, you described how you read through all our national defense program guidelines, and…I might say that you might know more than us about our program guidelines,” he joked.
“We have various items that we can even deepen our cooperation so that we can contribute to maintaining the peace and security of this region, as well as this world. So I look forward to today’s discussion on ways we can deepen our cooperation,” he said.
“And finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United States and U.S. forces for your support for JSDF F-35A which was recently involved in a mishap off the coast of Japan. Your helping hand made our alliance relationship a stronger one, and when a tragedy like this occurs, we are reminded of the strength and value of our alliance,” Iwaya said.