Trump heads back to US after 4-day Japan visit

Photo: AFP

President Donald Trump is on his way back to the United States after a four-day visit to Japan.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump said goodbye to Japanese officials on a rain-slicked tarmac in Tokyo.

During his stay, he met Japan's new emperor and held serious discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about North Korea, Iran and trade. He and Abe also played golf and attended a sumo wrestling match.

On Tuesday, Trump and first lady Melania Trump went aboard a Japanese destroyer to visit Japanese troops and then made a visit to the USS Wasp docked at the mouth of Tokyo Bay. Aboard the USS Wasp, Trump gave a Memorial Day speech to hundreds of members of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet.

Trump becomes first foreign leader to meet Japan's new emperor

Donald Trump on Monday became the first foreign leader to meet Japan's newly enthroned Emperor Naruhito - an honour Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes will help charm the US president when it comes to thorny trade talks.

Within an hour of touching down in Tokyo on Saturday, Trump railed against what he sees as a trade imbalance between the world's top and third-largest economies and vowed to make the relationship "a little bit more fair".

At the White House last week, Trump noted the significance of his meeting with the emperor.

Photo: AFP

Naruhito took the throne after his father stepped down, the first abdication in Japan's royal family in about two centuries.

"It's a very big thing going on with the emperor. It's something that hasn't happened in over 200 years," Trump said. "I am the guest, meaning the United States is the guest."

Trump stressed that Abe "very specifically" said Trump is the guest of 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.

It's not the emperor who chose Trump as his first state guest. It was Abe, who is seen by some as using the invitation to meet Naruhito to curry favor with Trump who is threatening to impose potentially devastating tariffs on Japan's auto industry, among other tensions in the relationship.

After leaving the Imperial Palace, Trump went to the Akasaka Palace, the Japanese state guest house with lush manicured grounds, for meetings, a working lunch and joint news conference with Abe.

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

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