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Abe tells audience he favors 'Japan First' policy, but with global focus

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, answers a question from Wall Street Journal Editor in Chief Gerard Baker at an event in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on May 16, 2017. (Mainichi)

Echoing one of the campaign slogans of U.S. President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told an audience at an event sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that he was following a "Japan First" policy.

"I am the prime minister of Japan, so I am for 'Japan First.' However, it is a Japan that walks the path of global peace and prosperity," he told the May 16 event in Tokyo. The comment appeared aimed at emphasizing Japan's commitment to international cooperation, in contrast with the inward-looking tone of the Trump slogan.

Abe also spoke on the sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact, which faces an uncertain future since Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement in January this year.

"My conviction that the Asia-Pacific region, which is a center of world growth, needs the TPP remains unchanged," he said, stressing his intention to put the pact into force with the remaining 11 signatories.

Furthermore, the May 26-27 Group of Seven summit in Italy will "clarify the route the world should take going forward, and strengthen the ties among leaders who share universal values," he said.

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