US President Donald Trump on Monday met Japanese Emperor Akihito and held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where the two leaders discussed North Korean threats and bilateral economy.
Trump arrived here on a two-day visit on Sunday, the first stop in his five-nation tour through Asia, reports CNN.
Earlier on Monday, the President and First Lady Melania Trump met Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, at the Imperial Palace, following which Abe and Trump held talks with the families of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea.
After meeting the families and hearing their “very, very sad” stories, Trump vowed to work with Abe to reunite them with their loved ones.
At the joint conference, Abe was effusive in his praise of Trump, reports CNN.
“It was only one year ago… I met the President in Trump Tower in New York,” Abe said, saying since then the two leaders had met multiple times, sharing many phone calls and “several rounds of golf”.
Abe said Trump’s choice of Japan as his first stop on his Asia tour demonstrated to the rest of the world the “unshakeable US-Japan alliance”.
“Thank you, Donald,” he added.
The Prime Minister said Japan supports the US President’s position on North Korea “when he says all options are on the table.
“For more than 20 some years the international community attempted dialogue with North Korea… Now is not the time for dialogue but for applying the maximum amount of pressure on North Korea.”
In response, Trump vowed to stand with Japan, as both countries face threats from North Korea.
“The United States of America stands in solidarity with the people of Japan against the North Korean menace. History has proven over and over that strong and free nations will always prevail over tie rants who oppress their people.”
Trump also declared that the “era of strategic patience is over” when it comes to the US stance toward North Korea.
Trump also met Japanese and American business leaders where he said: “We want fair and open trade. But right now our trade with Japan is not fair and it’s not open. But I know it will be soon.
“We want free reciprocal trade, but right now trade with Japan is not free, and it’s not reciprocal. And I know it will be.”
Upon his arrival on Sunday, Trump addressed servicemen at the US-controlled Yokota Air Base near Tokyo.
After Japan, Trump will head to South Korea on Tuesday.