Trump meets with Abe, hails longtime US-Japan alliance

Just a few hours after President Donald Trump arrived in Japan on Sunday, kicking off a five-nation Asia tour, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the two leaders’ plans for the afternoon.

Shinzo posted a photo on Twitter that showed the two leaders at the Kasumigaseki Country Club outside Tokyo.

“We are having a business lunch over hamburgers,” Abe wrote.

After their American-style lunch, the two men went off to play nine holes of golf.

Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, watches his tee shot on the second hole during round-robin play at the Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin County Club, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Hideki Matsuyama was scheduled to play golf with U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  (Associated Press)

They were to be joined by Hideki Matsuyama, one of pro golf’s top players. Trump said he was looking forward to the outing.

Matsuyama is “one of the greatest players” and probably the “greatest player in the history of Japan,” the president told reporters on Air Force One during the flight to Japan from Hawaii.

The president, who is an avid golfer, described Matsuyama as a “long ball hitter.”

“If I come back and say I was longer than him, don’t believe it,” the president joked.

Trump golfed with Abe in Florida in February. Abe presented Trump with a top-level driver by Japanese maker Honma soon after Trump won the presidency last November.

On Sunday, as Trump and Abe entered the golf club’s dining room, they signed a white golf hat that said: “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater.” It was a tribute to the U.S.-Japan friendship and a play on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

Earlier in the day, in remarks upon his arrival from Hawaii, Trump spoke of the longtime U.S.-Japan alliance as a testament to the “transformative power of freedom.”


President Trump and Prime Minister Abe signed white golf hats that said: “Donald and Shinzo: Make Alliance Even Greater.”  (Associated Press)

He observed that two countries that were once World War II enemies were now partners in pursuit of a better world.

It was an oblique reference to joint efforts by Trump and Abe to pressure North Korea to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Trump made the remarks at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo after arriving in Japan, the first leg of his five-nation tour of Asia.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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