For a man who once said that the only thing he liked about Japan was that the people bow instead of shaking hands, it should come as little surprise that Donald Trump opposes the potential takeover of United States Steel by a Japanese competitor.

"I would block it instantaneously. Absolutely,” Trump said of Nippon Steel’s bid, and this seems one of those times to take him both seriously and literally. While in recent years Trump is better known for his trade war with China, the former president has a long and storied history of Japan-bashing.

"I respect the Japanese, but we have to fight back,” he said in 1988, at the height of Japan’s economic power. It was a line he even continued to take during his first run for the White House, long after fears of "Japan as No.1” had faded.