Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told US President Donald Trump that the strengthening of the alliance between their two nations will continue even after Abe leaves office, a Japanese government spokesman said on Monday.
Abe announced on Friday that he would be stepping down for health reasons. His long battle against ulcerative colitis ended his tenure as Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.
“He wants President Trump to be reassured because the policy of strengthening the alliance between Japan and the US remains unchanged,” said Deputy Cabinet Secretary Akihiro Nishimura.
Nishimura spoke to reporters in Japan early Monday after a 30-minute phone call between Abe and Trump. According to a White House spokesman, Trump described Abe as “the greatest prime minister in Japanese history”.
Abe told Trump that Japan wants to work closely with the United States in devising a new missile defense strategy, Nishimura said.
Japan took a step towards acquiring weapons that could hit North Korea in July after a ruling party’s committee approved proposals to acquire strike capabilities to end ballistic missile attacks.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that Trump told Abe he did a “fantastic job” and that the relationship between their two countries is stronger than ever.
“The president named Prime Minister Abe the greatest prime minister in Japanese history,” Deere said.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will vote for a new leader to replace Abe on September 14, Jiji news agency reported.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)