President Donald Trump spoke with Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on Sunday after the Japanese leader announced his plan to resign for health reasons.
“Shinzo will soon be recognized as the greatest Prime Minister in the history of Japan, whose relationship with the USA is the best it has ever been,” Trump wrote. “Special man!”
Just had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Prime Minister @AbeShinzo of Japan, who will be leaving office soon. Shinzo will soon be recognized as the greatest Prime Minister in the history of Japan, whose relationship with the USA is the best it has ever been. Special man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2020
Shinzo is the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history, as he served three consecutive terms.
He resigned due to his longstanding suffering from colitis.
“For almost eight years I controlled my chronic disease, however, this year in June I had a regular check-up and there was a sign of the disease,” he said at a press conference. “I made a judgment that I should not continue my job as prime minister. I need to fight the disease and need to be treated.”
Shinzo will remain prime minister until his party chooses a successor. The vote will take place on September 14.
Trump and Shinzo kicked off a strong relationship before he even took office. Japan’s leader traveled to meet Trump at Trump Tower in New York, just days after he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
“Alliances cannot function without trust. I am now confident that President-elect Trump is a trustworthy leader,” said Shinzo, describing the talks as “candid” and held in a “warm atmosphere.”
Trump also visited Japan for four days in May 2019, watching Sumo wrestling patch, playing golf, and met with the emperor.
Shinzo also agreed to a new trade deal with the United States in 2019, opening up access to American agricultural imports.
He worked closely with Trump as he explored peace negotiations with Kim Jong-un and became more combative with China.
In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that under Shinzo, the U.S.-Japan relationship was the strongest ever.
“He championed our Alliance as a cornerstone of peace and security, and he advanced a free and open Indo-Pacific by working with the United States to build a network of partnerships across the region,” Pompeo wrote. “We thank him for his many years of dedicated service and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.”