US president Donald Trump kicked off his Asia trip in Tokyo yesterday (Nov. 6), where he hung out with his “wonderful” friend, prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Trump repeatedly reaffirmed his close relationship with Abe on the trip, though he also took a tough stance on America’s trade deficit with Japan during a summit today (Nov. 7), singling out the Japanese car industry in particular.
On North Korea, Abe and Trump reiterated their shared belief that more pressure needs to be put on Pyongyang, as opposed to dialog—though their friendship didn’t preclude Trump from using the opportunity to ostensibly pressure Japan to buy US-made weapons. Trump also once again expressed the desire to see Japan have the capability to shoot North Korean missiles out of the sky. Before setting out to Japan, he questioned why a nation of “samurai warriors” couldn’t shoot down missiles.
The president’s long Asia trip started with visit to Yokota air base just outside of Tokyo, the headquarters of the US military in Japan.
The two men began by bonding over their shared love for golf, and publicly disaplayed their already very well-established bromance.
Abe welcomed Trump to Japan with a traditional American delicacy: the hamburger. (During a visit to Japan in 1990, Trump reportedly refused to eat raw fish and had a burger from McDonald’s instead, according to Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.)
Trump and Abe made their friendship even greater.
As the men golfed, the wives went to look at pearls.
Trump and Abe and their wives had dinner yesterday (Nov. 5) at a teppenyaki restaurant, Ukai Tei, in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district. According to public broadcaster NHK (link in Japanese), they ate shrimp from Mie prefecture and steak from Tajima in Hyogo prefecture.
Trump met with the emperor and empress of Japan. He shook hands with them, rather than bowing, as Obama did when he met the royals in 2009—a gesture that drew sharp condemnation from American conservatives.
At a summit today (Nov. 7), Trump and Abe talked trade, North Korea, and other issues. Trump said the two made “tremendous progress” (paywall), particularly on trade.
Trump and Abe also fed carp. After giving up on using a spoon, Trump then poured the fish food into the pond. He also received an explanation (link in Japanese) from Abe about bonsai, the art of growing tiny trees in containers.
Melania Trump and Akie Abe visited an elementary school in Tokyo, where Melania learned to write the Chinese character for “peace.”
Trump also met with the family members of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and ’80s. Abe has kept the issue alive, and recently Trump too has been vocal about the abductions.