>> They've played golf together, shared hamburgers, and even exchanged ball caps.>> We look forward to many, many years of great friendship.>> On the surface level, it seems like Japan's Prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is close and cozy with Donald Trump. But that's hardly the case when it comes to trade, where Trump has been giving his new friend a decidedly hard time.
The list is long, tariffs on steel, threats of car import levies, withdrawing from the TPP, and even pursuing talks with Kim Jong-un despite Abe's personal warnings. As Reuters' Linda Sieg reports, it seems their close ties mean very little when it comes to business for Trump.>> Prime Minister Abe has been quite aggressive in cultivating a personal relationship with President Trump.
He was the first foreign leader to meet him after he was elected. Since that time, they have met personally nine times. This has not, however, gotten Japan protection from pressure and threatened action on the trade front. So some people were saying that, perhaps the Abe administration was overly optimistic about what it could expect as a result of personal ties.
>> But Abe is not alone, Trump has a similar rapport with French President, Emmanuel Macron. Friendly but not without their disagreements. The two have clashed on a number of issues from climate change and international trade to Iran. In any case for now, Japan isn't looking to change their plea book too much.
It has another set of talks with the US coming up, where they're looking to focus on free, fair, and reciprocal trade, all the while resisting the pressure to have a bilateral agreement.>> Some people think that Japan maybe trying to drag its feet in this next round of talks.
Officials deny that that's the case and others warn that that might backfire, since, obviously, Trump administration is in a hurry to see results.>> But Abe is not giving up. He is meeting the US President next week in Washington, getting in one last talk before Trump is expected to sit down with Kim Jong-un.