Current Events: Week of June 25

The Associated Press. "Cheese, Please: Japan, EU Said near Agreement on Trade Pact:
The Asahi Shimbun." The Asahi Shimbun. N.p., 01 July 2017. Web.
Japan and the European Union (EU) are finalizing a trade agreement to reduce barriers between the two large economies. After President Trump’s withdrawal from Obama’s Pacific Rim trade agreement, Japan has continued to seek trade ties with other countries. One contentious point of the negotiations with the EU is Japan’s tradition of protecting domestic agricultural interests, with dairy products being debated over in this case. Both Japan and the United States have sought to protect their national economic interests by their international positions, with Trump citing an “America First” policy to trade deals and Japan insisting that they will “resolutely protect [their] interests”. This is compatible with both nations’ identities as powerful countries capable and willing to pursue national interests. However, the United States’ position in global affairs has noticeably decreased with Trump’s presidency, which contrasts with Japan’s trade negotiations with the EU. Thus, this trade agreement has also brought up questions about the United States' leadership in international issues like trade.
Shimbun, The Yomiuri. "Govt in Step with U.S. Sanctions." The Japan News. N.p., 01 July
2017. Web.
The Japanese government agreed to cooperate with the United States on a pressing matter of national security for both nations: the sanctioning of North Korea, a rogue state with nuclear capabilities. Working with the US, Japan is seeking to pressure North Korea and China (a long-time supporter of North Korea) by implementing financial and trade sanctions. Given North Korea and Japan’s tumultuous history, in which Japanese citizens were abducted by North Korean agents, these actions are in line with the national narrative of continued contention between the two countries. In addition, Japan has long been active in concert with the United States on North Korean issues, especially in the Six Party Talks. With both the US and Japan as world leaders economically and militarily, cooperation to combat the North Korean threat shows both countries’ influence in the international arena.

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