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Trump mulls 1st visit to Japan in Nov.: key transition team member

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering visiting Japan around
November for the first time since taking office as he travels to
Southeast Asian countries for regional summit meetings, Kyodo News
learned Thursday from a person close to the U.S. administration.

The president's visit to Japan will be "before or after" he
attends the meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum
to be held in Vietnam and the East Asia Summit to be held in the
Philippines, said Ado Machida, who was a senior member of Trump's
transition team and is still affecting policymaking from outside.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held their first
official summit in the United States in February and have kept in
regular contact as North Korea stepped up its nuclear and missile
threats.

Machida, a Japanese-American who has access to the White House
and stays in contact with Japanese lawmakers, also said in an
interview that he expects Japan to play a bigger role in security
issues and to further open up its markets -- issues that could be
discussed between the two leaders when they meet.

On Abe's recent proposal to revise the war-renouncing Article 9
of the Constitution to give more legal backing to the Self-Defense
Forces, he said, "The United States should not instigate (Japan) to
do so, but I think Mr. Trump is thinking that he wants to support it."

Abe's proposal has been controversial at home. The current
Constitution has never been revised since it went into effect in 1947
and people against an amendment are concerned that any revision of
Article 9 could lead Japan to step away from its postwar pacifism.
(May 25)