The most interesting thing regarding the free-trade-agreement talks of President Trump with Shinzo Abe was how the latter adopted the leadership idiosyncrasies of the former.
The first Trumpian turn of the Prime Minister of Japan was the pulling of the trade-control move on South Korea. This action of his placed some controls on the access of Korea Inc to materials vital for the making of semiconductors and was completely out of the playbook of the president.
The latest has Prime Minister Abe indulging in some dubious claims so that Trump would not get caught lying regarding the mooted free trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan.
Abe has deployed rhetorical gymnastics for helping Trump to form the illusion that Tokyo would essentially bail out the farmers of the United States going broke during the trade brawl of America with China. Instead of denying these claims of Trump that the Japanese private sector would be purchasing “hundreds of millions of dollars of corn,” Abe has cited an infestation of the “insect pests” that will be impacting the own tiny sector of corn of Japan. This came as great news to the farmers as well as those who were watching the industry.
Akihiko Hirasawa, an economist from the Norinchukin Research Institute, studying the agricultural sector has said that there were no reasons for Japan to boost the imports of corn.
The frankly bizarre assertions of Abe have opened a window as to why investors should try to lower their expectations regarding the bilateral trade deal, one that is sure to create more hype than the substance.
Abe has already sufficient reason for distrusting Trump. Among his very first acts as the president in January 2017 was the pulling out of Trans-Pacific Partnership which was something that Abe had pleaded with Trump to not do.