Donald Trump has made a lot of phone calls since being elected president, but Thursday will mark his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since winning the White House. Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, plans to meet with Trump in New York to try to feel out how serious Trump's campaign promises regarding his country have been.
During the election, for example, Trump heavily criticized the U.S. for defending Japan, as it has been legally required to do. Trump has also suggested America's Asian allies develop their own nuclear arsenals, and Abe will likely remind Trump that Japan is committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, The New York Times reports. Abe might also broach the subject of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Trump having heavily disparaged the agreement during his campaign.
Additionally, "Mr. Abe may ... seek to soften Mr. Trump's angry campaign stance, in which he accused Japan of crushing the United States on trade, and manipulating its currency to gain an economic advantage," The New York Times reports.
As for the logistics of the meeting itself, things have proceeded chaotically. Japanese officials said that by Thursday morning the meeting location had still not been finalized, nor had the time of the meeting, who would be invited to it, or even who to get in touch with to find out the answers to such questions. Both Japan and U.S. officials said that the State Department had not been involved in preparations.
"There has been a lot of confusion," a Japanese official admitted to Reuters.