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Japan defends economic ties with the United States


NewsHubTOKYO, Jan. 12 (UPI) — Japan defended its trade relations with the United States, a day after U. S. President-elect Donald Trump said at his first 2017 press conference « hundreds of billions of dollars of losses » face the country because of a trade imbalance with partners like Japan.
In an indirect response to the president-elect’s remarks, Tokyo’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Thursday Japan favors « active trade and investment » because it is at « the root of the vitality of U. S.-Japan economic relations, » Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported.
Suga added Tokyo would prepare a « plan to further develop and advance the economic relationship » between the two countries, and that the principle would prevail regardless of who becomes president.
Last week Trump also criticized Japanese carmaker Toyota for plans to build a new factory in Mexico in order to sell automobiles to U. S. consumers. The tweeted message was met with a reply from Toyota, assuring the president-elect that the plant would not take jobs from the United States.
On Thursday, Suga said the United States « supports free trade » and that position will lead the way, according to the Japanese press report.
The official also said Japanese companies have invested a total of $411 billion and employs about 840,000 Americans, quoting U. S. Department of Commerce data.
« Japanese companies are good corporate citizens of the United States and well known to Americans, » Suga said.
Japan continues to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade agreement among countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to discuss the future of the TPP with his Australian counterpart during a state visit, according to The Australian .
Trump has opposed the deal, but his pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson , told the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he is not opposed to the agreement, which the United States has signed but not yet ratified.

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