Mr. Abe hoped to safe Mr. Trump’s dedication on two points: curbing the North’s nuclear and ballistic weapons packages, and facilitating the return of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and ’80s.
On Wednesday in Tokyo, critics had been skeptical that Mr. Trump would give Japan a lot consideration as soon as he received right into a room with Mr. Kim.
“The possibility of the U.S. thinking about Japan is zero,” mentioned Terry Ito, a commentator on Nippon Television, from Tokyo.
There was a way in Tokyo on Tuesday that Japan has been sidelined as Mr. Trump cultivates relationships elsewhere in Asia. Though sitting subsequent to Mr. Abe at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump spent almost as a lot time effusively praising China’s president, Xi Jinping, as “incredibly generous” and “a very special person to me” as he did discussing Japan.
Mr. Trump is “certainly not approaching this summit from the perspective of ‘Japan is one of our most important allies and how do I keep this relationship strong,’” mentioned Mintaro Oba, a former State Department diplomat and now a speechwriter in Washington.
It may additionally be an indication that Mr. Trump tends to lump nations within the area collectively. In a tweet posted Tuesday evening, Mr. Trump signaled he was now not interested in rejoining the Trans–Pacific Partnership, a multicountry commerce deal strongly supported by Japan.
Mr. Trump wrote: “While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States.” But South Korea will not be presently a celebration to the settlement.
Mr. Trump’s reversal on the commerce deal, lower than every week after he recommended the United States might enter the pact, strengthened the view that he sees Japan’s pursuits as expendable.
The leaders’ assembly in Florida comes at a time when Mr. Abe wants a political bounce, as home scandals have pushed approval rankings for his cupboard down as little as 27 %, in keeping with one ballot. Mr. Abe is now even much less fashionable than Mr. Trump.
As a world chief who has persistently maintained a strong personal relationship with Mr. Trump, Mr. Abe arrived at Mar-a-Lago with the burden of excessive expectations.
“The consequence of Prime Minister Abe looking so effective with President Trump in previous summits,” mentioned Mr. Oba, the speechwriter, “is that he has a higher level from which to fall.”
Mr. Abe, nevertheless, managed one small victory: A verbal dedication from Mr. Trump that he would carry up the problem of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean spies throughout his assembly with Mr. Kim.
The kidnappings resonate strongly with the Japanese public and Mr. Abe has made it certainly one of his private priorities to hunt the return of the abductees.
Analysts mentioned that Mr. Abe would most definitely proclaim Mr. Trump’s dedication as a victory when he returned house, however the technique might backfire.
“Mr. Abe will probably exaggerate his success on the abduction issue when he comes back to Japan,” mentioned Takashi Kawakami, a nationwide safety professional at Takushoku University in Tokyo. “But it’s not enough.”
On Wednesday in Tokyo, Shigeo Iizuka, a brother of Yaeko Taguchi, one of many kidnapped Japanese residents, mentioned he needed concrete outcomes.
“I want him to get a definite promise to return the Japanese citizens as well as bringing it up at the table,” Mr. Iizuka instructed reporters about his hopes for Mr. Trump’s assembly with Mr. Kim. “This is the first and last chance of a lifetime, and I don’t want him to miss this chance.”
In addition to the abductees, Japan can also be relying on Mr. Trump for safety ensures. One of Tokyo’s fears is that Mr. Trump may comply with a freeze in North Korea’s weapons program that would go away the nation with shorter vary missiles that would nonetheless attain Japan and South Korea.
For now, Japan has been not noted of North Korea’s current allure offensive.
“North Korea is now talking to the South Koreans, talking to the Chinese, and talking to the Americans, but seems to be trying to isolate Japan,” mentioned Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies Program on the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. “So that’s another negative element or factor” for Mr. Abe.
Analysts mentioned Mr. Trump would very doubtless view a dedication to carry up the abductees with Mr. Kim as a present to Japan that warranted one thing in return.
With Wednesday’s talks more likely to deal with commerce, and Mr. Trump already indicating he was now not focused on returning to the multilateral TPP, analysts mentioned Mr. Abe may be pressured to have interaction in two-way discussions as South Korea has already done.
“I fear that Japan may be pushed toward getting into talks about a bilateral agreement,” mentioned Jun Saito, a senior analysis fellow on the Japan Center for Economic Research. “Mr. Abe might think that it’s better to get into some kind of negotiation rather than losing Japan’s status in regional politics.”
Mr. Abe already expended appreciable home capital to influence farmers — conventional supporters of his Liberal Democratic Party — to simply accept extra overseas agricultural merchandise as a part of the TPP.
Pushing for extra concessions from Japan in a bilateral take care of the United States might put Mr. Abe in an much more politically delicate place.
“Capitulation to Trump here, I would think, would sign his political death warrant,” mentioned Jeffrey Wilson, the pinnacle of analysis on the Perth USAsia Center on the University of Western Australia.
Mr. Abe’s greatest complications nonetheless stay again in Tokyo, the place he’s combating off allegations that he helped pals at two instructional establishments acquire preferential remedy from the federal government. Several leaks of tampered information and beforehand lacking paperwork have deepened the scandals. Additional allegations of sexual harassment by a prime official within the Ministry of Finance are additionally tarring the prime minister’s management.
In rounds of golf and conferences on Wednesday in Palm Beach, Mr. Abe is probably going attempt to showcase his friendship with Mr. Trump within the hopes that it’s going to remind voters again house that he’s nonetheless one of the best man for the job.
“As for his strong leadership in diplomacy, I think people appreciate that,” mentioned Ichiro Fujisaki, a former Japanese ambassador to Washington. “But people also think that no one is above the law.”