TOKYO, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exchanged a phone call with Donald Trump on Thursday congratulating the U.S. president-elect, a sentiment that was not shared by the Japanese public after Trump's victory announcement.
The Japanese leader and Trump shared a 20-minute phone call during which both sides agreed to strengthen the bilateral alliance, Kyodo news agency reported.
Abe may meet with Trump in New York on Nov. 17, according to the report.
A sense of urgency appeared to prevail in the decision, which was made only a day after the announcement of Trump's election took the Japanese public by surprise.
According to a survey by the South China Morning Post, 88 percent of Japanese voters preferred Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and only 7 percent of people surveyed said they had a positive impression of Trump.
Those results may reflect Japanese reactions to Trump's campaign rhetoric regarding U.S. relations with Japan.
In the course of his presidential run, Trump had suggested countries like Japan and South Korea should provide their own defense. He had also said he would not be averse to Tokyo or Seoul developing their own nuclear armament.
Abe is expected to have much to discuss with Trump, who has opposed the finalization of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement among regional partners that would boost trade and economic ties between 12 countries.
Other issues on the table would include burden sharing for U.S. troops in Japan, and a joint response to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations.
Abe's administration appears to be treading uncharted waters. Inside government, officials had said they "do not know who to contact" in order to get in touch with Trump, perhaps because of the lack of connections between Trump's advisers and Tokyo, according to the report.
Japanese residents told the Post they are still in disbelief at the U.S. election results.
"I am worried," said Hiroko Moriwaki, a librarian in Tokyo. "I was...surprised at how positively people were reacting to Trump's speeches."
Another respondent said, "It's frightening that he is going to be in control of the world's largest economy for the next four years," while referring to Trump's discriminatory views.