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Trump Opens Japan Trip With a Little Jab

The president mentions the US-Japanese trade imbalance
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 25, 2019 1:18 PM CDT
President Donald Trump speaks with Japanese business leaders, Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – President Donald Trump opened a state visit to Japan on Saturday by needling the American ally over its trade imbalance with the United States, the AP reports. "Maybe that's why you like us so much," he joshed. Trump also promoted the US under his leadership, saying "there's never been a better time" to invest or do business in America, and he urged corporate leaders to come. The president's first event after arriving in Tokyo was a reception with several dozen Japanese and American business leaders at the US ambassador's residence. He said the two countries "are hard at work" negotiating a trade agreement. "I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's OK," Trump said, joking that "maybe that's why you like us so much."

His comments underscored the competing dynamics of a state visit designed to show off the long US-Japan alliance and the close friendship between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe even as trade tensions run high. Trump landed from his overnight flight shortly after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck just south of Tokyo and rattled the city. Abe has planned a largely ceremonial, four-day visit to suit Trump's whims and ego. It's part of Abe's charm strategy that some analysts say has spared Japan from the full weight of Trump's trade wrath. Abe and Trump planned to play golf Sunday before Abe gives Trump the chance to present his "President's Cup" trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling championship match.

(Read more President Trump stories.)

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