Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom

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Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom
May 25, 2019
Updated 7 minutes ago
Jeff Mason

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, landed in Japan on Saturday on a largely ceremonial visit meant to showcase strong ties with Tokyo even as trade tensions loom.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat Trump to an imperial banquet and front row seats at a sumo tournament during the trip, which lasts through Tuesday.

The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington mulls tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China in protest against Beijing’s treatment of U.S. companies, and tensions with Japan and the European Union over trade are simmering.

Trump and Abe are expected to discuss trade during talks on Monday, but officials have played down the possibility of a deal during the visit.

Trump will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month.

He made clear during an impromptu news conference on Thursday that he was flattered by the invitation.

“Prime Minister Abe said to me, very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honor.’ There’s only one guest of honor ... I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said.

“So it’s a great thing. And we get along very well with Japan. I get along very well with the Prime Minister.”

After his arrival, Trump was due to meet with business leaders before retiring.

On Sunday, Trump and Abe are expected to play golf and attend a sumo match. On Monday, they will discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in addition to trade.

A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival.

The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Nick Macfie



 

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Trump arrives in Tokyo for state visit, golf and sumo
By JILL COLVIN and DARLENE SUPERVILLE
43 minutes ago
25 May 2019


Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Japanese business leaders, Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TOKYO (AP) — President Donald Trump needled Japan over the U.S.-Japan trade imbalance as he kicked off a state visit to the country Saturday that’s been tailor-made to his whims and ego.

Speaking at a reception with several dozen Japanese and American business leaders at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Tokyo shortly after his arrival, Trump said the U.S. and Japan “are hard at work” negotiating a new bilateral trade agreement that he said would benefit both countries.

“I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK,” Trump told the group, joking that, “Maybe that’s why you like me so much.”

The comments underscored the competing dynamics of a state visit designed to show off the deep ties between the U.S. and Japan and the close friendship between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, even as tensions are high.

Abe has rolled out the carpet for Trump as part of a continued charm offensive, giving him the honor of being the first head of state invited to meet Emperor Naruhito since he ascended to the throne on May 1. Trump will also play golf with Abe and have the chance to present a “Trump Cup” at a sumo wrestling championship Sunday.

While the visit is expected to be largely ceremonial, the stakes are also high. Trump is threatening Japan with potentially devastating U.S. tariffs on foreign autos and auto parts, and has suggested he will go ahead with the tariffs if U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer doesn’t manage to wrest concessions from Japan and the European Union.

Trump had predicted that a U.S.-Japan trade deal could be finalized during his trip. But that’s highly unlikely given the two sides are still figuring out the parameters of what they will negotiate.

Trump nonetheless painted the negotiations positively as he addressed the business group shortly after touching down in Japan following a 14-hour flight.

“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting closer,” he said, while urging the business leaders to invest more in the U.S.

He also praised what he described as the “very special” U.S.-Japan alliance, telling the group that, “The relationship with Japan and the United States, I can say for a fact, has never been stronger, it’s never been more powerful, never been closer.”

It was the kind of talk expected during a trip meant to highlight the alliance between the countries and the friendship between their leaders.

“In the world of Donald Trump, terrible things can happen if you’re an ally, but no major blows have landed on Japan,” said Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Trump has the honor of being the first head of state invited to meet Emperor Naruhito since he assumed power after his father stepped down, the first abdication in about two centuries. Naruhito will welcome Trump to the Imperial Palace on Monday for a meeting and banquet in his honor.

“With all the countries of the world, I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said Thursday.

He’ll also be golfing with Abe on Sunday and hanging out that much-ballyhooed sumo trophy, which the White House said will stand nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds (27 and 32 kilograms).

Trump arrived shortly after a relatively strong earthquake rattled Tokyo. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake, registering magnitude 5.1, struck in Chiba, just south of Tokyo, at 3:20 p.m., about 40 kilometers (24 miles) underground. Trump was to arrive two hours later. The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the inland quake.

Abe made a strategic decision before Trump was elected to focus on Japan’s relationship with the U.S. The courtship began when Abe rushed to New York two weeks after the November 2016 election to meet the president-elect at Trump Tower. Last month, Abe and his wife, Akie, celebrated first lady Melania Trump’s birthday over a couples’ dinner at the White House.

Trump plans to return to Japan for a summit of leading rich and developing nations in Osaka in late June.

Behind the smiles and personal friendship, however, lurks deep uneasiness over Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Japanese autos and auto parts on national security grounds, a move that would be far more devastating to the Japanese economy than earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Trump recently agreed to a six-month delay, enough time to carry Abe past July’s Japanese parliamentary elections.

“On the surface, it’s all going to be a display of warmth, friendship, hospitality,” said Mireya Solis, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies. But, she said, “there’s an undercurrent of awkwardness and concern about what the future might hold. ... We’re coming to a decisive moment. This is, I think, the moment of truth.”

Also at issue is the lingering threat of North Korea, which has resumed missile testing and recently fired a series of short-range missiles that U.S. officials, including Trump, have tried to downplay despite an agreement by Pyongyang to hold off on further testing.

Speaking to reporters Saturday ahead of Trump’s arrival, national security adviser John Bolton called the series of short-range missile tests a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and said sanctions must be kept in place.

“In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that,” Bolton said, adding that Trump and Abe would “talk about making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained.”

It was a change in tone from comments made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in a recent television interview that, “The moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States.” That raised alarm bells in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat.

Bolton’s comments came a day after North Korean official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington won’t resume unless the U.S. abandons what Pyongyang describes as unilateral disarmament demands.
___
Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

 

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Trump presses Japan over trade gap, expects 'good things' from North Korea
May 27, 2019
Jeff Mason, Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump pressed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday to even out a trade imbalance with the United States and said he was happy with how things were going with North Korea despite its recent missile and rocket launches.

Trump told a news conference with Abe after their summit that he wanted U.S. exports to be put on a fair footing in Japan through the removal of trade barriers. He said he hoped to have more to announce on trade very soon and said he and Abe had agreed to expand cooperation in human space exploration.

“We have an unbelievably large imbalance, as you know, trade imbalance with Japan for many, many years, Japan having the big advantage,” Trump said.

“They are brilliant business people, brilliant negotiators, and put us in a very tough spot. But I think we will have a deal with Japan,” he added.

Abe, for his part, said the two leaders had agreed to accelerate trade talks but dodged a question about timing.

Trump, who is on a four-day state visit to Japan meant to showcase the Japan-U.S. alliance, said on Twitter on Sunday that he expected big moves on trade would wait until after Japan’s upper house election in July.

“Trade-wise, I think we’ll be announcing some things, probably in August, that will be very good for both countries,” Trump said on Monday at the start of the talks. “We’ll get the balance of trade, I think, straightened out rapidly.”

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters there was no agreement to reach a trade deal by August.

Abe, who has developed a warm relationship with Trump since the U.S. leader came to office, stressed the closeness of ties.

“This visit of President Trump and Madame Trump is a golden opportunity to clearly show the unshakable bond to the whole world and inside Japan as well,” Abe told the news conference.

Earlier, Trump was greeted by Emperor Naruhito and his Harvard-educated wife at the imperial palace in a formal welcome ceremony.

Trump is the first foreign dignitary to be received by the monarch since Naruhito inherited the throne after his father, Akihito, stepped down on April 30, the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in two centuries.

BOND OF FRIENDSHIP
Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako hosted a six-course state dinner later on Monday for Trump and his wife, Melania, and dozens of guests, many of whom were dressed in tuxedos or colorful kimonos.

In his toast, Naruhito highlighted how Japan forged a treaty with the United States when it emerged in 1854 from more than 200 years of self-imposed isolation.

“Since then, our two nations and peoples have overcome various hardships to cultivate mutual understanding and trust to become extremely close Pacific neighbors bound by a strong friendship,” he said.

On Sunday, Trump spent what he said was “an incredible evening” watching the Japanese national sport of sumo - where nearly naked wrestlers grapple on a raised sand ring - after he and Abe had bonded over hamburgers and golf.

While Abe and Trump have put their friendship on show, Trump has threatened to target Japanese automakers with high tariffs.


He has also spearheaded an expensive trade dispute with China. The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has hurt markets worldwide.

Trump told the news conference that Washington was not ready to make a deal with Beijing but he expected one in the future.

“I believe that we will have a very good deal with China sometime in the future. Because I don’t believe that China can continue to pay these really hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs,” he said.

“You know businesses are leaving China, by the hundreds, by the thousands, and going into areas that are not tariffed.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing that China’s stance was consistent: Disputes should be resolved through negotiations and China-U.S. consultations “must be based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit”.

NORTH KOREA
Trump and Abe also have disagreements over North Korea.

Trump expressed optimism over prospects that North Korea would give up its nuclear program, and repeated that he was not bothered by recent missile tests, which he indicated he did not believe flouted United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently – I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. Perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests, no ballistic missiles going out, no long-range missiles going out. And I think that someday we’ll have a deal,” Trump said.

“I’m not in a rush,” he added.

Trump also said he agreed with Kim that former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who has been critical of North Korea and is now campaigning to become the Democratic Party candidate for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, was a “low IQ individual”.

Abe said he supported Trump’s approach to Kim, but repeated Japan’s stance that the recent short-range missile tests violated U.N. resolutions.

The two leaders also discussed Iran. Japanese media has said Abe was considering a trip there next month, to try to soothe rising tension between Iran and the United States.

Trump said he thought a deal with Iran on its nuclear program was possible and said he was not seeking regime change there.

Also on Monday, Trump met families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea and told the relatives that he would work with Abe to bring the abductees home.

In 2002, North Korea admitted its agents had kidnapped 13 Japanese decades ago. Japan says 17 of its citizens were abducted, five of whom were repatriated.

Additional reporting by Malcolm Foster, Elaine Lies, Tim Kelly and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Jeff Mason and Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel and Peter Graff

 

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The Latest: Trump enjoys Japanese palace dinner with emperor
38 minutes ago
Donald Trump, Naruhito
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, right, looks on as President Donald Trump speaks during a State Banquet at the Imperial Palace, Monday, May 27, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan (all times local):


11 p.m.
President Donald Trump appears to have offered little to reassure Japanese leaders on some of their key worries as he wraps up a four-day state visit.

Trump is concluding his Japanese trip with rifts still evident between the two countries on trade and North Korea.

Japan had rolled out the red carpet for Trump, including a showy visit with Japan’s new emperor. But the visit has also seen Trump play down the significance of North Korean missile tests that have rattled Japan, and renew his threats of tariffs on Japanese auto imports.

The president and Melania Trump are due to take part in a Memorial Day ceremony aboard a U.S. battleship before leaving the region.

7:30 p.m.
President Donald Trump is enjoying a six-course state banquet dinner at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo featuring consommé, cote de boeuf and fruit.
The White House says Monday’s menu includes Consommé a la Royale, Turbot a la Meunière Sauce Tomate, Cote de Boeuf Rotie, Salade de Saison,
Glace Mont Fuji and a dessert of melon and grapes.

Music is being performed by the Imperial Household Orchestra.

Trump is spending his last night in Tokyo at the banquet hosted by the country’s new emperor and empress.

Also in attendance are a slew of top-ranking Japanese and U.S. officials, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh AH’-bay) and his wife.
___
8:10 p.m.
President Donald Trump has invoked the name of the era under Japan’s new emperor in his toast at an imperial banquet in his honor.

Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the throne on May 1 ushered in the era of Reiwa (RAY’-wah), which means “beautiful harmony.”

In the toast at Monday’s banquet in Tokyo, Trump asked that the “cherished bond” between the U.S. and Japan be preserved for the children “in the spirit of beautiful harmony.”

Trump quoted ancient Japanese poetry and said he and first lady Melania Trump will never forget the “gracious” invitation they received to meet Naruhito.

Naruhito in his toast described his family’s ties with previous U.S. presidents and said he sincerely welcomed Trump’s second visit to Japan.
___
7:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace for a banquet in his honor.

The president and first lady Melania Trump are being hosted by the new Emperor Naruhito and his wife, Empress Masako. Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe and his wife also are expected to attend the black-tie dinner with scores of other guests.

The meal caps a busy Monday that made Trump the first word leader to meet with Naruhito since his May 1 ascension to the throne.

Trump then spent hours meeting with Abe to discuss issues including North Korea and trade.
___
4:40 p.m.
President Donald Trump sided with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and continued to criticize former Vice President and 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden — this time on the world stage.

Trump said in response to a question at a joint press conference with the prime minister of Japan that Kim “made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. Trump said the assessment “probably is based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.”

Trump had been asked why he had appeared to side with a brutal autocrat instead of a former vice president.

There had long been a tradition of American leaders and candidates avoiding partisan talk on foreign soil.
___
4:15 p.m.
President Donald Trump says the U.S. isn’t ready to make a trade deal with China, but he’s leaving open the possibility that the two nations could strike an agreement someday.

Speaking in Tokyo Monday, Trump said of China, “they would like to make a deal. We’re not ready to make a deal.” He added, “We’re taking in tens of millions of dollars of tariffs and that number could go up very, very substantially, very easily.”

Still, Trump predicted a “very good deal with China sometime into the future because I don’t believe that China can continue to pay these really hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs.”

The world’s two largest economies are in a tense standoff over trade. Trump has said he expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, next month at a G-20 meeting in Japan.
___
4:10 p.m.
President Donald Trump says he knows that his advisers think that North Korea violated U.N. Security Council resolutions when it fired off short-range missiles earlier this month.

But Trump says he sees it differently — and that it doesn’t matter anyway. Trump said perhaps North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was trying to get attention with the tests.

Trump spoke Monday in Tokyo alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also believes North Korea’s recent tests violated U.N. resolutions.

Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton agrees, saying sanctions on Pyongyang should remain in place.

North Korea on Monday responded by calling Bolton a “war monger.”
___
4:05 p.m.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thanked U.S. President Donald Trump’s support in Japan’s effort resolve its decades-old dispute over abduction
of Japanese nationals, renewing his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions.

Abe told a joint news conference with Trump after Monday’s summit that the two leaders were on the same page over their policy to denuclearizing North Korea and that Trump has expressed full support for Abe’s priority in resolving the abduction issue.

North Korea has admitted to abducting about a dozen Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s, and allowed five to return home but says others had died.

Trump has mentioned the abduction issue to Kim in his past two summits. Abe says there is no specific prospect for a summit with Kim.
___
3:45 p.m.
President Donald Trump says he’ll work with congressional Democrats on a new North America trade deal and he expects House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would back it.

Speaking Monday at a news conference in Tokyo, Trump said “we will work with them,” on what the administration calls the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

He added, “I would think Nancy Pelosi would approve that.”

Democrats want the deal to include stronger enforcement provisions, among other possible changes.

Trump headed for Japan after an explosive, multi-day exchange with Pelosi that torpedoed talks about improving the nation’s roads and bridges.

Trump vowed to do no more work with Democrats until they stop investigating him on questions of obstruction.
___
3:40 p.m.
President Donald Trump says he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is looking to create a nation that has great economic strength. Trump says Kim is a smart man who knows that will not happen if he continues to develop nuclear weapons.

Trump said he’s very happy with the way that his negotiations with North Korea.

The talks have stalled since Kim and Trump’s second summit in February in Hanoi.

Speaking Monday in Tokyo, Trump also said he’s not bothered by short-range missile tests North Korea conducted earlier this month.

Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said the tests violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. Bolton said sanctions on Pyongyang should remain in place.

North Korea on Monday responded by calling Bolton a “war monger” and a “defective human product.”
___
3:35 p.m.
President Donald Trump says he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to cooperate on space exploration.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Tokyo, Trump said, the nations will “be going to the moon and Mars very soon.” He added that “from a military standpoint, there is nothing more important right now than space.”

The leaders did not provide details. Abe spoke of walking “hand in hand” with the United States on some issues. Abe said Japan would be making “new investments” in key U.S. states.

The prime minister said that in part due to Trump’s visit to Japan, the bond between the countries “has become rock solid.”
___
11:55 a.m.
The Trumps and Japan’s new emperor and empress have exchanged photos and other gifts.

Emperor Naruhito presented President Donald Trump with a traditional Japanese pottery and porcelain bowl. Trump gave the emperor with an American-made viola in a custom case handmade in Charleston, West Virginia, and a photo of U.S. composer Aaron Copland.

Mrs. Trump presented Empress Masako with a White House desk set featuring a fountain pen made from a red oak tree that stands on the grounds of Harvard University. The empress studied economics at Harvard.

The empress presented the first lady an ornamental box with a traditional Japanese design.

The foursome also exchanged photos. The Imperial Palace has a long-standing custom of the emperor and empress exchanging signed, framed photographs with their guests during state visits.
___
11:20 a.m.
President Donald Trump says he and Japanese Prime Minister have talked about Iran amid rising tension between Tehran and Washington.

With Abe at his side, Trump told reporters at Akasaka Palace on Monday that “nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me.” The U.S. president also said that “I do believe Iran would like to talk and if they’d like to talk, we’ll talk also,” adding that Abe has a “very good relationship with Iran.”

Japanese media has reported that Abe is considering a visit to Iran next month. The Kyodo News agency, citing unidentified government sources, said on Friday that Abe’s visit would be likely in mid-June. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Tokyo.
___
11:10 a.m.
President Donald Trump says he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “understand each other very well” as the leaders opened bilateral talks at Akasaka Palace.

Abe opened the event by telling Trump, “It was a tremendous honor for us to welcome you.”

With that and other flattery, Abe said the leaders would leaders would begin a summit to discuss North Korea and other “challenges of the international community.” Among other topics they’ll discuss the upcoming G20 summit next month.

Trump said “We are working on the imbalance of trade.” He added that the Japanese “are incredible people with a truly amazing prime minister who’s my friend.”
___
10:20 a.m.
After his visit with Japan’s new emperor, President Donald Trump is at Tokyo’s official state guest house meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump, Abe and their respective teams will be meeting Monday and having lunch together. Trump and Abe will also be participating in a joint press conference at Akasaka Palace.

It’s the second lengthy day of meetings for the pair, who spent Sunday playing golf together, taking in a sumo match and having a couples dinner with their wives.

Trump will be attending a state banquet in his honor Monday evening, and participating in a Memorial Day event Tuesday before heading home.
___
9:40 a.m.
President Donald Trump and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito walked along a red carpet in the courtyard of the Imperial Palace after meeting on Monday.

Trump is the first world leader to meet Naruhito since he ascended to the throne on May 1.

The president, who is on a state visit to Japan, is being treated to a welcome ceremony full of pomp and pageantry.

Trump stood at attention alone atop a platform before he walked along a red-carpeted route to review troops. He also passed in front of a group of schoolchildren feverishly waving U.S. and Japanese flags.

Trump wore a red tie that matched the color of the carpet. He was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.
___
9:25 a.m.
President Donald Trump is at Japan’s Imperial Palace meeting the new emperor.

The president and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, are kicking off Monday’s formal visit with handshakes and greetings with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.

Trump is the first world leader to be meet Naruhito, who ascended to the throne on May 1, opening what is called the era of “Reiwa,” or “beautiful harmony.”

Trump will go later to the Japanese state guest house for meetings, a working lunch and joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The president will also be the guest of honor at an imperial banquet at the palace hosted by the emperor.

Trump opened a four-day state visit to Japan on Saturday.

 
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Emperor, Empress bid farewell to Trump, First Lady
28 May 2019
8 hours ago

Emperor, Empress bid farewell to Trump, First Lady


Japan's Emperor and Empress bid farewell to US President Donald Trump in Tokyo on Tuesday as his state visit came to an end.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako visited a hotel in central Tokyo where they were first greeted at the entrance by US Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty.

The Imperial couple stayed inside the hotel for around 30 minutes, reportedly exchanging farewells with Trump and his wife.

On Monday, the Emperor and Empress hosted a welcome ceremony for the Trumps at the Imperial Palace before holding talks. Trump is the first head of state to meet Japan's new Emperor who came to the throne on May 1.

That evening, the Imperial couple also hosted a state banquet in honor of the US president. The Emperor said in his speech that he wishes for ties to deepen between the two countries.

 

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Abe, Trump highlight alliance
28 May 2019
6 hours ago

The leaders of Japan and the United States have highlighted the strength of their countries' alliance aboard a Japanese destroyer. President Donald Trump has toured a base near Tokyo on his final day of his state visit here.

The leaders showcased their solidarity on board the Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Kaga.
Japan's Defense Ministry plans to upgrade the vessel so it can function as an aircraft carrier. It will then be able to carry American-made F-35B stealth fighter jets.

In his speech, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his commitment to the Japan-US strategy in the region.
He said, "Our mission is to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific and to establish a foundation for regional peace and prosperity. As we gather here, I believe that every one of us shares an unwavering determination to fulfill such a mission."

Trump played up Japan's decision to purchase more than 100 of the next generation fighters.
He said, "I want to thank my friend and your prime minister, he's an extraordinary man, for his commitment to improving Japan's defense capabilities which also advances the security of the United States of America."

Japan plans to boost its defense spending over the next several years, citing the deteriorating security situation in the region. The bulk of it will be spent on American-made equipment.

Trump also visited an American warship where he addressed service members for Memorial Day -- the annual US holiday that honors those who died in war.

 

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