Japan Preps ‘Tweetable’ Trade Figures For Trump

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Japan is preparing “tweetable” trade statistics for the prime minister’s upcoming meeting with President Donald Trump.

The Japanese government has learned the rules of the game under the new U.S. administration. Officials have been reaching out to Japanese companies for trade and investment information so that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe can present figures that will look good on Twitter, the president’s preferred medium, reports the Financial Times.

The prime minister, accompanied by his finance, foreign, and trade ministers, will visit the U.S. Friday.

Top executives from three leading Japanese companies revealed that government officials have requested their investment numbers, and public investment institutions say the government is pushing them to invest billions of dollars into U.S. projects, particularly infrastructure development projects, such as high-speed rail.

“The most important thing is to reconfirm the importance of the US-Japan relationship in politics, economics and security,” Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of Japan’s Keidanren business federation, told reporters.

He suggested that Abe remind Trump that Japan directly invests over $400 billion in the U.S. and supports 1.7 million jobs, the Financial Times further noted.

Abe said last week that he would tell the president that Japanese companies “have contributed to improving the competitiveness and productivity of U.S. manufacturing industries.”

The prime minister will reportedly present the “U.S.-Japan Growth and Employment Initiative” during the upcoming meeting. The specifics of the deal are unclear, but the plan will reportedly create a 700,000 new jobs and involve $450 billion in market growth.

Japan’s desire to arrive with gifts appears to be an attempt to counter Trump’s repeated criticisms of Japan’s currency management and trade practices.

The trade deficit between the U.S. and Japan was around $60 billion in Japan’s favor in 2016.

Trump recently said that Japan “plays the money market,” accusing Japan of purposefully devaluing its currency. The president has also slammed Japan for erecting barriers to trade in the auto market.

Trump has also suggested that Japan is not paying enough for U.S. protection.

Abe was the first world leader to meet with Trump after the election, he has spoken with the president on the phone on multiple occasions, and now he is preparing to meet with Trump again.

Japan is eager to present itself as a reliable U.S. partner and curry favor with the new president.

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