TOKYO (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump renewed his criticism of the US-Japan security alliance, the linchpin of Tokyo’s security policies, ahead of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Osaka this week.
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Trump was responding to a question in a Fox television interview in Washington on Wednesday about what bilateral deals he would like to see with various countries including Japan. Tokyo and Washington are engaged in difficult trade talks as Trump’s administration seeks to lower the US trade deficit.
“Almost all countries in this world take tremendous advantage of the United States … Like even Japan on the treaty, we have a treaty with Japan. If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War Three,” Trump said.
“We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack.”
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, asked about the remarks, said the two governments had not discussed revising the treaty and dismissed the notion that the pact was unfair.
“The obligations of the United States and Japan … are balanced between both countries,” he told a news conference.
Under the decades-old US-Japan security treaty, the United States has committed to defending Japan, which renounced the right to wage war after its defeat in World War Two.
Japan in return provides military bases that Washington uses to project power deep into Asia.