Japan

Japan hopes to strengthen ties with U.S. after midterm elections

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Japan will look to strengthen ties with the United States under President Donald Trump, the Japanese government said Wednesday after midterm elections delivered a divided Congress.

"As the Japan-U.S. alliance has been unshakable, Japan will move ahead with cooperation with the United States in a variety of fields," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference.

The comment comes after the Democratic Party secured a majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, while the Republican Party retained its majority in the Senate, a development that could make it hard for Republican President Trump to move ahead with his legislative agenda.

Before the election results came in, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party share the importance of the alliance and no matter what the results, the two allies would not see a direct impact on their relations.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has built a rapport with Trump since he became the first foreign leader to hold a face-to-face meeting with Trump in November 2016 immediately after his presidential election victory.

Besides the perceived deterrence provided by the Japan-U.S. alliance, Tokyo needs Washington's support in settling the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, which Abe has made one of his government's top priorities.

Trump held the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit with leader Kim Jong Un in June in Singapore, and Washington and Pyongyang are arranging another one.

Nishimura said Tokyo and Washington will continue to closely coordinate their policies to address the abduction issue and the North's nuclear and missile programs.

© KYODO