Trump meets Abe in Florida Image courtesy AFP

US President Donald Trump on Thursday met with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, less than a week to go before meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Abe will hold a joint press conference at the White House in the early afternoon, before heading to Canada for what promises to be a tense Group of Seven summit clouded by the US leader’s aggressive trade policies.

Since the first inkling that a Trump-Kim summit could be on the cards, Japan has repeatedly insisted that Washington be mindful not to let its guard down with the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang.

And by coming to Washington to see Trump for the second time in less than two months, Abe wants to be sure to get his point across to the US president, amid the intense diplomatic flurry over the future of the Korean peninsula.

Before leaving Tokyo, the Japanese leader emphasized that during his lightning visit to Washington, he hoped to “closely coordinate and agree” with Trump on an approach to the North Korea issue.

And he clearly outlined what would need to happen for the June 12 summit in Singapore to be a success: tangible progress on curbing the North’s nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, as well as answers about Japanese nationals kidnapped by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.

At their last meeting at Trump’s Florida retreat in April, the US president promised Abe to raise the politically sensitive abductions issue in any talks with Pyongyang.