Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom

Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom
Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, landed in Japan on Saturday on a largely ceremonial visit meant to showcase strong ties with Tokyo even as trade tensions loom.

Japanese 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 two men share awarm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washingtonmulls tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as apotential national security threat.

The United Statesis in the middle of an expensive trade war with China in protest againstBeijing's treatment of U.S. companies, and tensions with Japan and the EuropeanUnion over trade are simmering.

Trump and Abe areexpected to discuss trade during talks on Monday, but officials have playeddown the possibility of a deal during the visit.

Trump will becomethe first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito sincehe inherited the throne earlier this month.

He made clearduring an impromptu news conference on Thursday that he was flattered by theinvitation.

"PrimeMinister Abe said to me, very specifically, 'You are the guest of honor.'There's only one guest of honor … I'm the guest of honor at the biggest eventthat they've had in over 200 years," Trump said.

"So it's agreat thing. And we get along very well with Japan. I get along very well withthe Prime Minister."

After his arrival,Trump was due to meet with business leaders before retiring.

On Sunday, Trumpand Abe are expected to play golf and attend a sumo match. On Monday, they willdiscuss North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in addition to trade.

A medium-strengthearthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours beforeTrump's arrival.

The epicentre wassouthern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due toplay golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warningwas issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

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