Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday he was confident of building trust with Donald Trump following a meeting in which he sought clarity on campaign rhetoric from the U.S. president-elect that cast doubt on long-standing U.S. alliances.
After the hastily arranged 90-minute meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, Abe called Trump a trustworthy leader, although he said he would not disclose details of the conversation because the talks were unofficial.
The Republican president-elect will succeed Barack Obama on Jan. 20.
Speaking through a translator, Abe described the conversation as "candid" and "really, really cordial."
"I do believe that without confidence between the two nations, alliance would never function in the future, and as an outcome of today's discussion, I am convinced that Mr. Trump is a leader with whom I can have great confidence in," Abe told reporters after the meeting.
Asked by reporters about Trump's plan for force Japan and other allies to pay for U.S. military support, Abe replied, "I do believe without confidence between the two nations, alliance would never function in future, as outcome of today's discussion and convinced Trump a leader I great confidence."
He said he had agreed to meet again with Trump "at a convenient time to cover a wider area in greater depth." It was not clear if such a meeting would occur before Trump's inauguration.
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters on Friday in Tokyo that it was beneficial for Abe to meet Trump before the billionaire businessman became president, given that Japan-U.S. relations were vital to both countries.