Playing golf and dining al fresco in Florida with Donald Trump won Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plaudits from the Japanese public, suggesting a more pragmatic view toward engagement with the new U.S. president than in Europe and North America.

Trump greeted Abe with a hug when he arrived at the White House this month. The pair reaffirmed their countries' military alliance and avoided criticism — easing anxiety over Trump's complaints about Japan's currency and trade policies and financial support for U.S. forces. That contrasted with a more workmanlike visit days later by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has sought to contrast Trump's policies with his own.

Abe's visit played well in Japan, with two-thirds of respondents to a poll published Monday by the Yomiuri newspaper saying they approved of the trip. Support for Abe's Cabinet rose 5 percentage points to 66 percent, almost the same level as when he took office in December 2012.