National / Politics

U.S. reiterates commitment to alliance after election, but sticky bilateral trade talks await Abe

Kyodo

The U.S. government reiterated its commitment to strengthening ties with Japan after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition retained a majority in Sunday’s Upper House election.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Japan, a friend and ally of the United States,” a spokesperson for the State Department said in an email responding to a request for comment.

The department also emphasized the broad political support that both countries enjoy under the U.S.-Japan alliance based on the “shared commitment to democratic values.”

U.S. media outlets were quick to report on the results of Sunday’s election, with the New York Times saying that although Abe “did not secure the number of seats needed to fulfill his long-cherished ambition of revising a pacifist Constitution,” he played it down and instead “touted his personal relationship with President Trump” to assure voters that his government is the best choice to run the country.

Abe has set his sights on having a revised Constitution in 2020, but the pro-amendment camp’s failure to hold onto their two-thirds supermajority means the LDP leader faces the daunting task of convincing opposition parties if he wants to achieve his goal as planned.

The Wall Street Journal marked upcoming trade talks with the United States as one of the biggest challenges the LDP leader will face, with President Donald Trump pushing for greater market access while threatening to raise auto tariffs. Trump had said that he expected to announce something “very good for both countries” in August after the election.