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.
After arriving at Haneda airport shortly after 5 p.m., Trump headed to the U.S. Embassy where he addressed Japanese business leaders, including Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
"Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much," he said.
Trump urged the group to increase their investment in the United States while saying Japan had a substantial edge on trade that negotiators were trying to even out.
On Sunday, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to play golf in Chiba Prefecture and attend a sumo match in Tokyo. On Monday, they will discuss North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in addition to trade.
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."© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.