During the months leading up to the Presidential elections, Donald Trump had criticized Japan on grounds of insufficient financial contribution in return for US military protection. He had even expressed his opinion in favour of Japan acquiring nuclear weapons. These views challenged the fundamentals of the longstanding security partnership between Japan and the US. It was the fear of deteriorating relations with the US that prompted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to become the first foreign leader to visit Trump after the elections. However, the Abe administration can actually benefit from a Trump White House if it plays its cards right. Abe could utilise this opportunity to push for greater military self-sufficiency and a more prominent regional role for Japan. Perhaps this is the underlying reason for Abe’s efforts to engage closely with Trump from the very beginning.