President Donald Trump complained Monday that trade with Japan is neither free nor open and the U.S. deserves a better deal as he began the second day of his short stay in Tokyo.
‘We want free and reciprocal trade. But right now our trade with Japan is not free and it’s not reciprocal. And I know it will be,’ Trump told Japanese and American business leaders during an event at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Tokyo.
A billionaire businessman before he ran for president, told industry leaders, ‘For the last many decades, Japan has been winning, you do know that.’
Trump hinted during the remarks that the Japanese government would soon be boosting the U.S. economy with a giant order of military equipment in a build up of its self defense forces in the face of the rising threat from North Korea.
President Donald Trump complained Monday that trade with Japan is neither free nor open and the U.S. deserves a better deal as he began the second day of his short stay in Tokyo
He did not say how much Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to spend, only that his government was planning to purchase ‘a lot’ of equipment – ‘as he should be.’
‘We make the greatest military equipment in the world. There’s nothing close. And the prime minister is ordering a lot of military equipment, as he should be, as he should be, with what’s happening with one of your neighbors. So that is happening,’ Trump said.
Japan’s Defense Ministry requested an overall budget of ¥5.26 trillion, or $48 billion, for its military in the 2018 fiscal year, a record high for the country, earlier this year.
According to Reuters, new Japanese defense spending would fund upgrades to Japan’s ballistic missile defense system, six F-35 fighters, four V-22 Osprey tilt rotor troop carriers and new naval vessels.
Trump tease the purchase in a September tweet that said he would be ‘allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.’
He did not say what equipment the U.S. intends to sell either country then, and he did not delve into the details in Japan.
Yesterday, in remarks at Yokota Air Base, Trump said the U.S. dominates the land, sea, air and space ‘not merely because we have the best equipment, which we do.’
‘And, by the way, a lot of it’s coming in; you saw that budget,’ he said. ‘That’s a lot different than in the past. A lot of beautiful, brand new equipment is coming in. And nobody makes it like they make it in the United States. Nobody.’
Trump told Japanese and American troops in the audience, ‘Got a lot of stuff coming. Use it well.’
In the speech just after he landed, Trump said the U.S. ‘will never yield, never wavier and never falter the defense of our people.’
‘American soldiers are prepared to defend their nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities,’ he said at Yokota Air Base just outside of Tokyo. ‘No one – no dictator, no regime and no nation – should underestimate ever American resolve.’
Those that have underestimated in the U.S. in the past, ‘it was not pleasant for them, was it,’ Trump told American and Japanese troops stationed at the base in Western Tokyo, nudging North Korea.
Since arriving in Japan Trump has only referred to the rogue regime in the abstract, staying away from the derogatory terms he has used to describe the nation’s dictator in the past.
Trump has referred to North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as ‘Little Rocket Man’ on multiple occasions in the past.
Today he mentioned him indirectly as ‘one of your neighbors.’
Security and trade were top priorities for the U.S. and Japanese governments on Monday as they engaged in formal talks.
Trump said he anticipates that the deal that comes out of bilateral trade talks will ‘actually be better for both countries’ that what has gone on in the past.
‘I know that we will be able to come up with trade deals and trade concepts that are going to be fair to both countries,’ he said. ‘And actually I think we actually be better for both countries. I have no doubt that it will be done in a quick and very friendly manner.’
Trump began the second day of his short stay in Tokyo with a national tragedy to grapple with on top of his talks with the Japanese government on trade and North Korea.
A gunman opened fire Sunday morning at a southeast Texas church, murdering at least 25 parishioners and injuring 30 more.
The suspect fled the scene, First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, and was killed by police as he tried to escape. Trump said Sunday that he had been briefed on the tragedy.
The U.S, president addressed the massacre at his first event of the day, calling it an ‘act of evil’ during the meeting with Japanese and American business leaders at U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty’s Tokyo residence.
Trump said in a tweet early in his day that he was monitoring the situation from Japan.
‘May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,’ he stated. ‘The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene.’
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday as the president was preparing to depart for the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Tokyo that Trump had spoken to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends and families affected. May God comfort them all in this time of tragedy,’ Huckabee Sanders said.
Trump was meeting this morning with business leaders and Hagerty, previously the head of private equity investment firm. He met with embassy staff away from the cameras after that.
A state call with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko was on the agenda, as well, before several hours of meetings with Abe.
The U.S. president also plans to meet with Japanese citizens this afternoon whose loved ones were abducted by North Korea.
Later in the day, he and Abe will take questions from the press and at a joint news conference.
Trump’s second and final evening in Tokyo will be spent at a banquet hosted by the Japanese government. He departs Tuesday morning local time for Seoul, South Korea.