NHK carried live a joint press conference by President Trump and Prime Minister Abe upon conclusion of the summit. At the outset, the prime minister stressed that his very close personal bonds with the President have made the bilateral alliance “unshakable” and the “closest one of its kind in the world.” He said the two nations are genuine global partners responsible for maintaining regional and global peace and prosperity. Abe said he and the President confirmed that the two nations are completely in sync in their approaches toward North Korea. He voiced deep gratitude to the President and First Lady for meeting again the families of the Japanese abductees. Abe disclosed that the President gave him full support for his policy of seeking a meeting with Chairman Kim “without preconditions” to resolve the abductions. PM Abe also said he and the President agreed to conclude ongoing trade negotiations expeditiously in a mutually beneficial manner.
In his opening remarks, President Trump promised his continued support for Japan’s efforts to resolve the abductions. The President also reportedly expressed strong hope for Japan to continue to procure American defense hardware. On the bilateral trade imbalance, the President underscored that the two leaders will work together to improve bilateral economic relations based on the principles of “fairness and reciprocity,” projecting that the two nations will probably be able to make an announcement on a trade deal “very, very soon.”
Asked by an American reporter about yesterday’s tweet on North Korea, in which he wrote that he was not disturbed by the recent missile launches, the President emphasized that he is “not bothered personally,” as he is confident that Chairman Kim believes that denuclearization will mean a bright future for his country. The President indicated that he does not regard the launches as a violation of the UN resolutions, saying that Chairman Kim perhaps wanted to get attention. On the other hand, the prime minister said Japan views the launches as a violation, and called them extremely regrettable. On Iran, the President reportedly stressed that he is not seeking regime change and that he only wants to press Tehran to give up its nuclear development. The prime minister, speaking on his planned visit to Iran in mid-June, said he is willing to play the role of mediator to defuse tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
On the proposed U.S. tariffs on Japanese and other foreign vehicles, PM Abe said he and the President affirmed accelerating talks between USTR Lighthizer and Economic Revitalization Minister Motegi on bilateral auto issues in accordance with the joint statement that the two leaders adopted last September. President Trump noted that when pursuing a trade agreement with Japan, the U.S. is not bound by the TPP or other trade deals that Tokyo has concluded.