Published: Sun, May 26, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Donald Trump tweets 'great progress' in Japanese trade negotiations

Donald Trump tweets 'great progress' in Japanese trade negotiations

President Trump is now addressing Japanese business leaders, including representatives for Toyota and SoftBank.

Sumo diplomacy, to sum it up.

"That was an incredible evening at sumo wrestling", Trump said after the tournament at a hibachi-style meal of Wagyu steak with first lady Melania Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie.

Japanese wrestler Asanoyama will receive the "president's cup" - weighing 27-32 kilos and measuring 1.4 metres - after his win as Trump was arriving on Saturday gave him a 12-2 record and put him out of reach on the final day.

Mrs Trump drew the fish for a girl named Julia, and wrote underneath it: "Julia, Best Wishes, Melania Tump".

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat Trump to an imperial banquet and front-row seats at a sumo tournament during the trip, which lasts through Tuesday.

The state visit will provide an altogether more pleasant vibe than in Washington, where talk of impeachment is now rampant and Trump is seething at Democrats' investigations into his administration.

But this trip, the first of two Trump is expected to make to Japan in the next six weeks, is more of a social call meant to highlight the alliance between the countries and the friendship between their leaders. It is part of Mr Abe's charm strategy that some analysts say has spared Japan from the full weight of Mr Trump's trade wrath.

Shortly after his arrival in Japan, Trump also downplayed recent North Korean missile tests, tweeting about "some small weapons" having been fired off.

First it was golf. Trump and Abe conversed via their interpreters and the president at times looked amused as he watched the ancient rituals associated with one of the world's oldest organized sports. On the lunch menu: Double cheeseburgers made with USA beef.

It's the much-ballyhooed trophy that President Donald Trump plans to present to the victor of a championship sumo wrestling match in Tokyo on Sunday. The traditional throwing of cushions to mark an exciting round was prohibited. Trump congratulated him for his "outstanding achievement".

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What stands almost 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and weighs between 60 and 70 pounds (27 and 32 kilograms)?

As they stand on the deck of the Kaga - a ship that could, potentially, be turned into an aircraft carrier capable of supporting F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing stealth fighters - it's possible the Japanese and American leaders could cut even more deals.

"I've always found that fascinating", Trump said about sumo wrestling last month. "We brought that handsome trophy, which they'll have hopefully for many hundreds of years". "It's over 200 years since something like this has happened so it's a great honour to be representing the United States".

"I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me", Trump said, referring to North Korea's moratorium on nuclear and missile tests.

"We were able to exchange our views frankly in a cozy atmosphere". The two posed for a smiling selfie, with Trump donning a red "USA" hat. "I get along very well with the prime minister".

Some Japanese find Trump's meeting with the emperor distasteful.

Tradition holds that American presidents and candidates avoid politicking while on foreign soil, but Trump is not one to abide by such norms.

The president also embraced Kim's attack on a Democratic presidential rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, misspelling Biden's name while tweeting that he "smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse".

Last week, Trump made a decision to delay new auto tariffs as his administration negotiates bilateral trade agreements with Japan and Europe - but only for six months, a tight deadline for the two sides to reach an agreement that suits him. Kyodo news agency noted the president's love of beef but added that, were he to be more adventurous, the restaurant's menu included such Japanese delicacies as "salmon roe with grated radish and marinated sea cucumber guts".

"Much will wait until after their July elections where I anticipate big numbers".

Trump has threatened Japan with new tariffs on imports of autos and auto parts, citing national security grounds. In April, Japan's trade surplus surged nearly 18% to 723 billion yen ($6.6 billion).

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