President Trump on Monday became the first world leader to meet Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, ahead of a much-anticipated news conference where the president is expected to talk about topics ranging from trade to North Korea.
The president has been celebrating the busy trip to Japan, where he’s said he’s been making headway on a trade deal, in addition to taking in the culture.
The president and first lady Melania Trump kicked off Monday’s formal visit with the new emperor and Empress Masako with handshakes and greetings at Japan’s Imperial Palace.
Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1, opening what has been called the era of “Reiwa,” or “beautiful harmony.”
Trump then went to Tokyo’s official state guest house to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They will later participate in the joint news conference at Akasaka Palace.
It’s the second lengthy day of meeting for Trump and Abe, but the president’s 4-day trip has not been all business, he and Abe enjoyed a round of golf on Sunday, took in a sumo match and had a couples dinner with their wives.
“We were able to exchange our views frankly in a cozy atmosphere. It was wonderful,” Abe said.
The president said Saturday that trade negotiations with the Japanese prime minister have been moving forward, specifically regarding beef and agriculture.
“Great progress being made in our Trade Negotiations with Japan,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Agriculture and beef heavily in play. Much will wait until after their July elections where I anticipate big numbers!”
In a speech before businessmen at the U.S. ambassador’s residence, Trump claimed that Japan has enjoyed a trade advantage, but that the two countries were working on a bilateral trade deal.
“I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years but that’s OK,” Trump said. “Maybe that’s why you like me so much.” He added that “we’ll get it a little bit more fair.” He suggested that removing barriers to U.S. exports to help achieve this goal.
In addition to trade, Trump told the media that he and Abe also covered subjects including the military.
The president is set to attend a state banquet in his honor Monday evening, and participate in a Memorial Day event Tuesday before heading back to the U.S.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.