While there's little prospect that Japanese consumers will ever buy enough American cars to please U.S. President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe government's record spending on defense is shaping up as a bright spot in bilateral trade for the U.S. president.

Japan's purchases through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program represent 16 percent of all nonpersonnel costs for the nation's Self-Defense Forces so far this year, more than double the level in 2014, according to calculations based on government data.

Plans to buy advanced American radars, stealth fighter jets and missile-defense systems in coming years will amount to billions of dollars for U.S. weapons makers. Japanese companies, already struggling to compete, don't stand to benefit as much because economies of scale have made homegrown technology more expensive and Abe's government wants to get more bang for its buck.