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Trump and Abe meet at the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Photo: Kyodo News via Getty Images

If President Trump decides to re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan, the biggest economic player in the deal, would welcome him with open arms, a top Japanese diplomat told Axios on Wednesday, before Trump directed his top advisers to take a fresh look at the deal.

"We would welcome the U.S. anytime back to TPP."
— A Japanese diplomat

The backdrop: Japan views the TPP as its greatest weapon against China's growing influence, and the U.S.'s exit from the deal weakened its clout as a counter-coalition to Beijing.

Timing: Trump's decision to deputize his chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and his top trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer to reconsider TPP comes right before he is scheduled to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Mar-a-Lago on April 17th and 18th.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
10 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
1 hour ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.