Japan's tabloid daily Nikkan Gendai has an article with leaked information from Prime Minister Abe's ministers who anonymously shared their (and supposedly Prime Minister Abe's) disappointment over US President Obama, who was in Japan on a state visit.
While the US reporters accompanying the president on his Asian excursion asked tough questions like "Did you like green tea ice cream?" Nikkan Gendai's reporter wrote up an article condemning the Abe administration of complaining about Mr. Obama.
If what Nikkan Gendai reported is true, President Obama, instead of trying to foster personal ties with the Japanese prime minister on the occasion (private Sushi dinner at a sushi bar in Ginza, Tokyo where the minimum charge is $300 per person), dutifully represented the US multinational corporations who demand TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, or NAFTA on steroid, as if he were a working-level negotiator.
From Nikkan Gendai (4/26/2014; part):
Prime Minister Abe was joined by Finance Minister Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga on April 25 evening for a dinner at an exclusive steak restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. Mr. Abe complained that "it was all business (with Obama)." According to Mr. Abe [as leaked by a participant to Nikkan Gendai reporter], Mr. Obama said to Mr. Abe on the sushi diplomacy on April 23 evening:
"The approval rating of the Abe administration is in 60s, mine is in 40s. Shinzo [Mr. Abe's first name] is more stable politically, so please make concessions in the TPP negotiation."
Mr. Abe tried to deflect with a joke, saying "In Japan, Ambassador Kennedy is more popular than me." However, Mr. Obama kept pressing for concessions, citing the tariff rates for pork and beef.
"Prime Minister jokingly said, "It was a business dinner on TPP. President Obama didn't crack a joke." The dinner participants chimed in, saying "He is business-like," and "It is difficult to be on the same wavelength with him." One of the participants leaked the words to the press waiting [outside the restaurant], who quickly spread the Prime Minister's remarks. I hope those words won't offend the United States..." (according to a source in Foreign Ministry)
The sushi dinner was reportedly $300 a person (minimum), which is not particularly expensive at all in an exclusive restaurant in Ginza. Mr. Abe and his ministers dined on $500 steaks, says Nikkan Gendai.
President Obama was in South Korea on Friday, telling the Korean president what she wants to hear on Korean "comfort women", just as he told Prime Minister Abe what he wanted to hear on Senkaku Islands.
The Abe administration is not pleased with Mr. Obama, who made the issue of "comfort women" into a political/diplomatic issue.
If China were on his itinerary, then, Mr. Obama would go on to condemn Japan over Senkaku Islands, following the pattern of saying what the host wants to hear.