Japan PM Shinzo touts ‘alliance of hope’ with US

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrapped up his US visit in Los Angeles on Friday where he shared his vision for strengthened economic and political ties between the two allies.

At a Japan-US economic forum in downtown Los Angeles, Abe spoke of an “alliance of hope” that included growing investments and closer business and political ties.

US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the United States and Japan will work toward promoting more direct investment in each other’s markets and approval of a Pacific trade agreement.

“We must reinforce an economic architecture that will shape and secure our future,” Pritzker said.

“There are two essential cornerstones of that architecture: increasing two-way investment and deepening trade” through a trans-Pacific agreement, she said.

At an earlier luncheon, Abe said there is a “synergy across the Pacific Ocean” between the nations, and he alluded to strengthened defense ties with the US amid Japan’s perpetual feud with archrival China.

Since winning election in December 2012, Abe has been a strong advocate of closer ties with the US His remarks came near the close of a three-day swing through California after meeting earlier in the week with President Barack Obama in Washington, where Abe said the US and Japan must take the lead in completing a 12-nation trans-Pacific trade pact.

He arrived in the US during a Washington battle over legislation that would give Obama the authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a cornerstone of his second-term agenda. In a reversal of politics-as-usual, it’s Obama’s own Democratic base that opposes him and Republicans who support the deal.

Pritzker told the forum, which included leaders of U.S. and Japanese businesses, that the Obama administration is “all-in on TPP.”

She said the pact would be the most effective mechanism for paving the way to even stronger economic ties.


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