Prime Minister Shinzo Abe goes to Washington next week to become the second world leader to meet new U.S. President Donald Trump. He would be well advised, as the old saying goes, to sup with a long spoon — meaning to keep a careful distance — from him.

Abe himself says he's looking forward to "a candid exchange of views on the economy and security issues as a whole." I hope he is not deluding himself into thinking that Trump is a "strong leader" with whom he can do business. He may, secretly, admire Trump's tough extreme vetting of immigrants, or hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin's emergence as Trump's new best buddy may give Japan hope of recovering the disputed islands off Hokkaido.

Dream on, Abe. Trump's rise to power represents economic, political and diplomatic, and geopolitical challenges for the rest of the world, in which Japan is highly vulnerable. Challenges always offer opportunities too, but I have grave doubts whether Abe is the man who can lead Japan to the sort of change needed to face a new world.