Japan welcomes Trump with a charm campaign, golf and sumo

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  • Under the threat of potentially devastating U.S. tariffs on autos, Japan is ready to roll out the newest phase of its charm offensive targeting President Donald Trump as it welcomes him on a state visit tailor-made to his whims and ego.
  • Offering high honors, golf and the chance to present a “Trump Cup” at a sumo wrestling championship, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, arguably Mr. Trump’s closest friend on the world stage, will continue a years-long campaign that so far appears to have spared Japan from far more debilitating U.S. actions.
  • Behind the smiles and personal friendship, however, lurks deep uneasiness over Mr. Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Japanese autos and auto parts on national security grounds, a move that would be far more devastating to the Japanese economy than earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum.
  • With Trump’s relations with the leaders of the U.K., Germany, Canada and other allies strained, Mr. Abe has worked more than any other leader to try to keep Mr. Trump engaged with international institutions, adding that it is critical for Japan’s survival.
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