Trump meets Japan business leaders

US President Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo met for bilateral meetings and a working lunch at Akasaka Palace on May 27, 2019.
US President Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo met for bilateral meetings and a working lunch at Akasaka Palace on May 27, 2019.PHOTO: THE WHITE HOUSE/TWITTER
US President Donald Trump attends a Japanese business leaders event in Tokyo, Japan on May 25, 2019.
US President Donald Trump attends a Japanese business leaders event in Tokyo, Japan on May 25, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (THE JAPAN NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - At a meeting held at the United States ambassador's official residence in the Akasaka district of Tokyo, about 30 Japanese business leaders are said to have been in attendance, and the President embraced the person whom he calls Masa - Mr Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp - with a smile.

In the beginning of his speech last Saturday (May 25), Mr Trump applauded the attendees, calling them "the greatest business leaders in the world".

He also said: "The United States and Japan are two of the largest economies in the world. There, you're doing fantastically well."

Many of the attendees were business leaders of companies that actively invest in the US, such as automakers, major trading firms and financial companies.

In his speech, Mr Trump referred to several companies by name, including Toyota Motor Corp and auto parts maker Denso Corp, to emphasise intimacy with the companies.

He also walked around the meeting room to shake hands with each business leader.

"Mr Trump probably wanted to send a message that he places importance on business by attending the meeting immediately after arriving at the airport," said an attendee after the meeting.

"He is a true businessperson. He must have been tired, but he was smiling and friendly. Fantastic," said another.

TOKYO ON HIGH ALERT

Mr Trump arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, with the capital on a high-alert profile afforded to an important visitor.

 
 
 
 

For many who had gathered at Haneda Airport and along roads to catch a glimpse of the President, this visit presents a ray of hope for progress on the North Korean abduction issue and the strengthening of Japan-US relations.

After Air Force One landed at Haneda Airport at 5.19pm, Mr Trump appeared in a suit with a dark blue tie, descending the boarding stairs holding hands with the first lady, Melania.

"We look forward to seeing everyone soon!" Mr Trump had tweeted just before landing.

Mr Trump then shook hands with Foreign Minister Taro Kono for about 10 seconds, before waving to reporters and getting into his car.

Many people gathered at the airport to try to get a glimpse of the President's arrival.

"I hope (Mr Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) will hold serious discussions on the abduction issue and also deeper talks on world peace," said one of the onlookers, a 69-year-old homemaker from Yokohama, referring to the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents.

Escorted by motorcycle police, Mr Trump's motorcade passed through the Metropolitan Expressway, unimpeded due to traffic restrictions, and arrived at the residence of the US ambassador in Minato Ward at about 5.45pm.

Some Americans holding Stars and Stripes flags were seen among the onlookers who were waiting for the motorcade.

"I wish the relationship between Japan and the United States will become even stronger in the Reiwa era," a 29-year-old female company employee said.

To mark Mr Trump's visit, the Tokyo Skytree in Sumida Ward was decked in special red, white and blue lighting, inspired by the colours of the American flag.

The illumination is scheduled to continue through Monday night.

"We expressed our welcome (to the President) with the lighting," an official of the Skytree's operating company said.

"We would be honoured if President Trump also enjoys it."