Japan Hopes To Stay In Trump’s Good Graces With Gift Of 700,000 New Jobs

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Aiming to counter President Donald Trump’s previous criticisms, the Japanese prime minister is expected to roll out a massive economic cooperation initiative in a meeting with the U.S. president.

The so-called “Japan-U.S. growth and employment initiative,” which is expected to be presented when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the White House Feb. 10, will involve $450 billion in market growth through new investments and the creation of 700,000 new jobs, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Japan will reportedly invest in infrastructure development, as well as robotics, artificial intelligence, cyber, space, and defense projects in the U.S.

Among the projects included in the initiative are high-speed rail projects, plans for transportation infrastructure upgrades, technology sharing programs, advanced power generation projects, and other high-end programs.

At this time though, it isn’t confirmed whether or not the prime minister will present the initiative during his planned meeting with Trump.

Observers suspect the Japanese government may be trying to stay in Trump’s good graces after recent criticisms.

While the U.S.-Japanese alliance was strengthened under the previous administration, Trump has criticized Japan for allegedly engaging in unfair trade practices, casting a degree of uncertainty over the relationship.

Trump asserts that Japan intentionally restricts American access to Japanese auto markets through trade barriers and manipulates its currency.

“We sell a car into Japan and they do things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan,” Trump told a group of business leaders last Monday.

Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S. was $60 billion in 2016. While 40 percent of all Japanese shipments to the U.S. consisted of cars and auto parts, U.S. auto exports to Japan were limited. American cars made up less than a third of one percent of all passenger cars sold in Japan last year.

Japan exported 1.6 million cars to the U.S. in 2015, while the U.S only sent over 19,000 cars.

The Japanese government rejects Trump’s accusations, asserting that it does not impose tariffs on U.S. auto imports, nor does it utilize any other discriminatory trade barriers.

“You look at what Japan has done over the years. They play the money market, they play the devaluation market and we sit there like a bunch of dummies,” Trump said Tuesday, blasting Japan for manipulating its currency.

Japan argues that Trump’s criticisms are “totally incorrect.”

The reported economic cooperation initiative, which has not yet been officially confirmed, appears to be an attempt to convince the new U.S. administration that Japan is committed to fair trade and meaningful economic cooperation.

Japan is also expected to increase energy imports from the U.S., Reuters reports.

The focus, though, is reportedly jobs creation. “Trump only cares about numbers. Everything has to be linked to jobs creation,” a Japanese diplomat told Fortune, noting that Japan needs to show that Japanese companies will create U.S. jobs.

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