All networks reported at noon on Prime Minister Abe’s departure from Haneda Airport for a summit with President Trump in Florida. NHK quoted Abe as telling reporters at the Kantei: “I would like to confirm bilateral cooperation on North Korea and economic issues and highlight the strong bonds of the U.S.-Japan alliance. I will confirm our commitment to maintaining maximum pressure on North Korea so that it will relinquish its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.” In addition, Abe reportedly said: “Ahead of the first U.S.-DPRK summit, I will do my best to ensure that progress will be made toward the resolution of the abduction issue, which is more important than anything. I would like to discuss the matter thoroughly with President Trump.” NHK said the U.S.-Japan summit will be held on April 18 and 19, Japan time, at Mar-a-Lago, adding that the two leaders are expected to also play golf there.
NHK quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as telling reporters: “Prime Minister Abe will speak directly with President Trump about future policies on North Korea ahead of the inter-Korean and U.S.-DPRK summits. We hope the leaders will confirm that the U.S. and Japan are together 100% and demonstrate to the world the unyielding bonds of the U.S.-Japan alliance.” Suga also reportedly said: “The two leaders will be able to exchange views on various topics by playing golf together. I hope it will be an opportunity for the two leaders to further solidify their relationship of trust by holding conversations in relaxed settings such as dinner and golf.”
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Aso reportedly said to reporters regarding the summit: “I hope the United States will talk about the possibility of rejoining the TPP. It will also be significant if we can discuss the abduction issue, which is of great interest to us.”