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Workers at Toyota's Princeton, Indiana, plant.

Japan May Offer US Jobs in Summit with Trump

Jan. 31, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will take up the issue of auto trade and stress economic contributions of Japanese automakers' investments and jobs in the US, according to Japan's Kyodo news.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will propose plans to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US when he meets President Donald Trump at an upcoming summit in Washington, Kyodo news reported Tuesday.

Tokyo is busy putting together an investment package which "would translate into hundreds of thousands" of new US jobs, Kyodo said, citing unnamed Japanese government sources. 

Abe will pitch Japanese companies' cooperation in projects like high-speed rail construction and shale oil development, the report added.

The package is to be put forward when the two leaders meet on February 10.

Japan is one of Washington's closest allies but Trump alarmed Tokyo policymakers during his election campaign late last year by musing about pulling thousands of US troops from the region and suggesting that officially pacifist Japan may need nuclear weapons.

Kyodo said that Abe will take up the issue of auto trade at the summit and stress economic contributions of Japanese automakers' investments and jobs in the US.

Earlier this month Trump set off concerns about the fate of Japanese firms doing business in the United States after threatening Toyota with punitive tariffs over its new vehicle plant in Mexico.

Toyota later said it will invest $600 million and create 400 jobs at one of its US plants -- just weeks after Trump criticised the Japanese auto giant.

Trump, speaking to a group of pharmaceutical executives at a White House meeting on Tuesday, accused Japan of currency manipulation.

"You look at what China is doing and what Japan has done over the years, and they played the money market and the devaluation market and we sit there like a bunch of dummies," he said.

However, in a telephone conversation on Sunday Trump and Abe agreed to work together to counter the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program and deepen bilateral trade and investment.

The call came days after Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast trade deal encompassing a dozen nations that Abe has backed enthusiastically.

US participation is seen as key to the agreement and Abe has said he would keep trying to convince Trump of its merits. The trade deal was negotiated under former president Barack Obama. Trump yanked the deal before the US Congress was able to consider ratification.

Abe was the first world leader to meet the US president-elect in New York, visiting Trump just nine days after Americans voted him into office in a surprise victory.

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