Is Shinzo Abe the pioneer of Trumpism? Japan's prime minister is that and more in the worldview of Donald Trump whisperer Steve Bannon, who arrived in Tokyo on Sunday to laud Abe's drive to "re-instill the spirit of nationalism."

Bannon's speech to the Japanese Conservative Political Action Conference was more like a sales pitch for consulting contracts than fact-based look at Nagatacho realities. After all, the former Trump adviser is licking deep wounds from a stinging defeat in the southern U.S. state of Alabama. His favored candidate — a kook accused of child molestation — lost a Dec. 12 election for a Senate seat. What better way to forget than hawk your retrograde ideas — and services — 11,000 km away?

Yet Bannon's take on Abe's perceived successes — calling him "Trump before Trump" — offers a timely window into why the "make Japan great again" gambit is coming up woefully short at the five-year mark.