The meetings Friday and Saturday between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may help lay the groundwork to carve out a bilateral trade deal from the ashes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, said Tom Schieffer, former U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Trump's rhetoric on the campaign trail and subsequent abandonment of TPP as president has caused the Japanese "great anxiety," Schieffer told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Friday.
Schieffer said he hopes the meetings will "get the alliance back on the straight and narrow" and "allay people's fears" about U.S.-Japanese relations.
Abe used a lot of political capital to ratify TPP back in December, Schieffer said, adding that maybe Trump and Abe can "save the best parts" of the 12-nation free trade deal.
The Japanese brought their "A-Team to Washington," Schieffer argued, saying the prime minister is being accompanied by the deputy prime minister, the finance minister and the foreign minister.
"They're going to try to engage the American government across the board," said the former ambassador who served during the presidency of George W. Bush.