One of the notable features of the Trump presidency's first 100 days has been the difficulty that many democratic leaders have found establishing a good personal relationship with the former reality TV star. For a man purported to be charming, the meetings and conversations between key allies have often been fraught. British Prime Minister Theresa May had that awkward moment on the White House stairs, the meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was famously frosty, while the first phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was spectacularly bad.

Part of the reason for this seems to be the uneasy political position democratic leaders feel in close proximity to Trump. He is spectacularly unpopular outside the United States and getting close to him unsettles many leaders whose first instinct is for the optics back home. Many seem not especially well-briefed about just how to handle Trump. As a political outsider who few expected to win, in-country diplomats who normally provide advice to the leaders about exactly how to approach a new president seemed to have little on offer. Equally, many see Trump as primarily a risk that has to be managed and whose "America First" agenda seems to offer partners with few opportunities.

But there is one leader of a democratic American ally who has handled Trump with remarkable acuity — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He made a detour on the way to the 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit in Peru to visit President-elect Trump. And not only did he deliver the perfect present, a golden golf club, he was well-briefed on how to handle the meeting: avoid policy, talk family and above all build a good personal relationship with Trump.