Taro Aso today becomes the first foreign leader to visit President Obama but it may be the Japanese leader's last summit, Bloomberg reports. The prime minister's popularity has dived amid public dislike of his handling of the economy and his finance minister's resignation over a drinking scandal. Polls show almost 80% of Japanese want Aso to step down by April.
"The US trip is unlikely to revive Aso’s popularity," a Japanese political scientist said. "The meeting may be a superficial one where Obama requests Japanese money and troops no matter what happens to the Japanese government." Before flying to the US, Aso told reporters that his chief aim would be to agree a common approach to the global economic crisis, and that he "humbly" accepted his dismal ratings.