(Bloomberg) -- Former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is set to meet former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night in the US, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The visit by Aso, the deputy head of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is the most public sign yet that Tokyo’s positioning for a possible Trump return to the White House, as the ex-president prepares for an electoral rematch against incumbent Joe Biden. TV Tokyo reported the meeting earlier.

Aso arrived in the US about a week after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida returned from his first official visit to America as leader. In his summit with Biden, a speech to the US Congress and a visit to Japanese companies in North Carolina, Kishida touted the strength of bilateral ties between the two nations across a wide range of areas from national security to business investments. 

Read more: Kishida Says ‘World Needs US,’ Warning Congress of Global Risks

Aso is among a series of foreign envoys who have sought talks with Trump or his associates, after being caught unprepared when he won his first term in 2016. The former president’s comments on alliances this year have sparked renewed concern among US allies already bruised by his imposition of tariffs while in office. 

Aso’s meeting comes after the Asahi newspaper and other media reported that he had tried and failed to secure a meeting with Trump during a previous visit to the US in January. Aso served as Japan’s deputy prime minister and finance minister throughout the period of Trump’s presidency. A secretary in Aso’s office said she wasn’t aware of the schedule for a meeting between the two men.

“Leaders from around the world know that with President Trump we had a safer, more peaceful world,” Brian Hughes, a Trump campaign spokesman, said. “He is widely recognized as a leader who, with the support of the American people, kept our nation and allies safe, our enemies in check, and American workers protected from unfair globalist trade policies.” 

Read: Trump Triumph Has Wary World Bracing for White House Return

Then-premier Shinzo Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump after his 2016 election win. That meeting took place in New York before Trump was officially sworn into office, an indication of Abe’s determination to make a favorable impression. 

Abe subsequently poured efforts into building the relationship through hours spent on the phone or the golf course. His 2022 assassination raised questions over whether Japan has someone in the pipeline who could potentially play a similar role if Trump is re-elected.  

“If the current president stays on, we will deal with it properly, and if a new president comes in there will be the question of appropriate relations with him, naturally including personal ties,” said Kenichiro Sasae, a former Japanese ambassador to the US. “The personal element is extremely important in diplomacy.”

--With assistance from Yuki Hagiwara and Momoka Yokoyama.

(Updates with comments from former Japan ambassador to the US in ninth paragraph.)

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