Japan Turmoil Puts Freeze On U.S. Ties

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TOKYO, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Political instability in Japan is affecting ties with the United States and putting the premier’s visit to Washington in doubt, officials said Tuesday.

The two governments are likely to give up on drafting a joint statement on their relationship to mark the 50th anniversary of their security treaty, sources on both sides tell the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The document was intended to declare principles for the next 50 years of U.S.-Japanese ties in the security, economic and cultural spheres and be signed during Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s scheduled visit to the United States in September.

However Kan, under fire for his management of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, may not be in office much longer and is likely to call off the trip, officials say. The joint statement appears to be on hold even if a Japanese new prime minister visits Washington.

After the earthquake, Japan put off joining the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership, an economic framework, but stepped up talks on a free trade deal with China and South Korea.

“The United States expressed strong mistrust of Japan” as a result, a Japanese government source told the Yomiuri Shimbun.

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