• Reuters

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to underscore the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance when he meets President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

“This is going to be an important meeting to build trust,” Kishida told NHK on Sunday. “We also would like to use this opportunity to input the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, as well.”

With Abe set to meet Trump in New York on his way to an Asia-Pacific summit in Peru, the government has been seeking clarity on what direction the Republican political novice wants for bilateral relations after he made comments on the campaign trail at odds with established policies.

Kishida reiterated Japan’s long-standing position that it has no plans to develop nuclear weapons. During the campaign, Trump left open the possibility that Japan — the only country to have suffered an atomic bombing — may have to acquire its own nuclear weapons.

“I don’t believe Japan will possess nuclear arms. This principle won’t change,” Kishida said.

Trump’s campaign comments on Japan’s nuclear armament and his demand that the country pay more for the upkeep of U.S. forces on its soil have worried Tokyo about a possible rift in a security alliance with Washington that has been the bedrock of its defense since World War II.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told the same TV program that Japan is already shouldering enough financial burden to support U.S. troops deployed in Japan.

“Japan is making sufficient contribution,” she said. “I would like to continue underscoring that Japan is going to strengthen its own defense posture both in quality and quantity, strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and strengthen ties with other relevant countries.”

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