Leading Japan lawmaker seeks Trump meeting during New York visit, NHK reports

By Thomson Reuters Apr 19, 2024 | 5:24 AM

By Yoshifumi Takemoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – A senior figure in Japan’s ruling party will travel to New York next week and is seeking a meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Taro Aso, a former prime minister who currently serves as vice president of the Liberal Democratic Party, will visit New York from April 22-25, sources with knowledge of his travel plans told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He is seeking a meeting with Trump, who is in New York standing trial in a hush money case, NHK reported citing sources. One source familiar with his travel plans told Reuters Aso may want to see Trump but declined to elaborate.

Aso, who was deputy prime minister during Trump’s 2017-2021 term as president, attempted to meet Trump in January during a trip to the U.S. but was not able to see him, Reuters previously reported.

Japan has been trying to connect with people close to Trump ahead of the Nov. 5 presidential election that could see him return to office and resurrect protectionist trade measures and other contentious policies that threatened to strain relations between the allies.

Late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump after his victory in the 2016 presidential election. The pair went on to form a close bond, forged over hours on the golf course, that helped defuse some of these contentious issues.

(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Frances Kerry)