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Japan's Shinzo Abe criticized for 'golf summit' with Donald Trump

By Elizabeth Shim
Japan's Shinzo Abe criticized for 'golf summit' with Donald Trump
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being roundly criticized by Japanese politicians for his decision to play golf during his upcoming summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to play a round of golf with U.S. President Donald Trump during his summit on Friday.

But Abe's plan to build friendly ties with the new president is inviting criticism from ruling and opposition party politicians in Japan, the Mainichi Shimbun reported on Wednesday.

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Hiroshi Ogushi, the policy research committee chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, said that while golfing is fine for building personal relationships, he worries about the "kind of message" Abe's golfing with Trump would send to the world.

Ogushi was referring to Trump's recent executive order that restricts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, a policy that has been met with international opposition.

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Abe has stayed silent in the wake of the U.S. immigration order.

Social Democratic Party Secretary-General Seiji Mataichi said Tuesday Abe's bid to leave a favorable impression on Trump was a "disgrace," compared to the attitude of "stern criticism" from the United States' European allies.

Criticism also came from Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, according to the report.

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LDP politician Makoto Koga said during a televised appearance last Friday on local network TBS such overtures do not necessarily mean better relations.

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Trump has spoken positively about the upcoming golf summit.

"We're going to have a round of golf, which is a great thing," Trump has said. "That's the one thing about golf. You get to know somebody better on a golf course than you will over lunch."

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The United States maintains about 50,000 troops in Japan, but Japan's scientific research community was recently unsettled by news of U.S. Air Force funding of 128 Japanese university researchers, according to the Mainichi.

More than $7 million in funds were distributed to scientists starting in 2010.

The Science Council of Japan has banned Japanese scientists from conducting research related to the military since 1967, a possibility that cannot be ruled out with military funding, according to the report.

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