U.S. President Donald Trump played golf and watched sumo wrestling with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday, the second day of his four-day state visit to Japan.
Climbing into the sumo ring, Trump presented a special U.S.-made trophy to rank-and-file wrestler Asanoyama, the winner of Japan’s Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.
“In honour of your outstanding achievement as sumo grand champion, I hereby award you the President’s Cup,” Trump said on the ring at the Ryogoku Kokugi-kan.
“I’m too pleased for words,” said Asanoyama, who received the 137-centimetre trophy weighing about 30 kilogrammes.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump watched the last five bouts of Sunday’s sumo tournament, hosted by Abe and his wife Akie.
“We bought that beautiful trophy which you’ll have hopefully for many hundreds of years,” Trump said.
“That was an incredible evening at sumo,” Trump said before an informal dinner with Abe. “We really enjoyed being there. I always wanted to see sumo wrestling. So, it was really great.”
Earlier in the day, Abe and Trump, who arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, were joined by Japanese professional golfer Isao Aoki.
Aoki joined them to play 16 holes at the Mobara Country Club, south-east of Tokyo.
They had breakfast and lunch together at the club.
Their lunch included double cheeseburgers made with U.S. beef, Japanese officials said.
“The prime minister and I talked a lot about trade, about military and various other things,” Trump said after arriving at a restaurant in Tokyo for a dinner.
Earlier in the day, Trump, who has repeatedly criticised Japan for its chronic trade surplus with the U.S., claimed that “great progress” was made in trade talks with Japan.
“Great progress being made in our Trade Negotiations with Japan. Agriculture and beef heavily in play,” tweeted Trump, who previously urged Abe to open the country’s automotive and
“Much will wait until their July elections where I anticipate big numbers!” he added, apparently referring to Japan’s July upper house elections.
Speaking with Japanese business leaders the previous day, Trump had said that his intention was to make bilateral trade “a little bit more fair”.
He was apparently referring to his country’s trade deficit with Japan.
“With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said.
“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he added.
Bilateral trade is one of the major topics when Trump and Abe hold talks on Monday.
Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said late Saturday the two countries would not reach any trade agreement during the two leaders’ meeting.
“The Japanese and U.S. positions remain apart at this point, and we will work to fill that gap,” Motegi told reporters after holding talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Tokyo.
North Korea is also another major topic between Trump and Abe.
Trump once again downplayed North Korea’s firing of a series of projectiles earlier this month, including some identified as ballistic missiles.
“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim (Jong Un) will keep his promise to me,” the president tweeted.
Japan lodged a protest with the reclusive state over the firing of the missiles.
Also, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that Pyongyang’s actions were a violation of UN resolutions.
The U.S. president has expressed interest in meeting Kim for the third time and attempt to make progress on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Their second summit, held in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi in February, abruptly ended without yielding any results.