President Donald Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday eager for a visit salted with flattery and pomp — particularly as he escapes a hostile political environment back home.
The President and first lady Melania Trump landed in Tokyo ahead of a largely ceremonial visit to recognize the country’s new emperor. Later they attended a dinner with Japanese business leaders meant to promote investment in the United States — fueled along, Trump hopes, by a new trade agreement that reduces the $68 billion trade deficit with Japan.
“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years but that’s OK,” Trump said during short remarks. “We’ll get it a little bit more fair.”
Earlier, Air Force One touched down at Haneda International Airport just before 4 a.m. ET (5 p.m. local) after a roughly 14 hour journey from Washington. Trump’s series of engagements with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Naruhito begin Sunday.
The state visit will provide an altogether more pleasant vibe than in Washington, where talk of impeachment is now rampant and Trump is seething at Democrats’ investigations into his administration.
And though Japanese officials and analysts said the honor of an inaugural state visit would have been afforded any US leader, it still reflects a bid to charm a flattery-prone President who still finds himself besieged by investigations back home. The trip kicks off an intensive schedule of foreign travel that will take Trump to Europe and then back to Asia over the next month.