The top government spokesman Thursday denied a report that U. S. President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017 to “strongly consider” affor
The top government spokesman Thursday denied a report that U. S. President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017 to “strongly consider” affording one of his biggest sponsors a license to operate a casino in Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga responded tersely to the investigative report by U. S. nonprofit organization ProPublica during a regular press briefing, referring to Abe’s past denial in the Diet of the allegation.
“The prime minister responded to the matter before. That’s all I have to say,” Suga said.
According to the independent outlet, Trump, upon meeting Abe at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in February 2017, surprised Japanese officials by abruptly mentioning a bid by his major benefactor and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson — who runs Las Vegas Sands Corp. — to make a foray into the Japanese market.
In December 2016, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its pro-casino allies, amid fierce wrangling with the opposition, passed a broad bill to legalize casinos.
Abe “didn’t really respond” to Trump’s pitch and said “thank you for the information,” ProPublica quoted an unnamed source with knowledge of the meeting as saying.
If true, Trump’s push for Adelson, who is said to have contributed $20 million to his victorious election campaign in 2016, is “blatant” and “incompatible with the traditional norm of diplomacy,” said U. S. politics expert Kazuhiro Maeshima, a professor of international relations at Sophia University in Tokyo.
“That meeting with Abe in February 2017 also coincided with a deepening sense of urgency over the North Korea situation, meaning Japan was in a very vulnerable position security-wise and couldn’t really say ‘no’ to the U.

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