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February 24, 2009
Obama hosts Japan’s Aso to talk economy, North Korea

Given the state of the global economy, it was perhaps fitting that the first foreign leader to visit President Barack Obama in the White House was the prime minister of Japan. The two countries are the world’s leading economic powers, and today’s meeting follows Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Japan last week.

As the two men met today, they reaffirmed their strong partnership and its importance in helping the world recover from the grip of a deep recession.

Japan’s economy — dependent on exports — is shrinking three times faster than the U.S. economy, and Prime Minister Taro Aso’s popularity is falling even faster. One public opinion poll in Japan put his popularity rating at 11 percent.

The North Korean issue also became more urgent today when the communist nation announced it is preparing to launch what it calls an experimental communications satellite, but which experts say may be a test of a long-range missile that could reach Alaska. In 1998, the North Koreans fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan.

Ayako Doi, an associate fellow at the Asia Society and former editor of “Japan Digest,” joins Martin Savidge to discuss how the U.S. and Japan can tackle the economy, the level of threat posed by the¬†anticipated North Korean missile launch and the rest of the meeting’s agenda.

Read what a Worldfocus contributing blogger had to say about the meeting and the future of U.S.-Japan relations: U.S. expects Japan to elevate efforts in war and economy.

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