When they met in NY in November past year immediately after Trump won the presidential election, the two leaders, both avid golfers, exchanged golfing items as gifts. Like Trump, he takes a hard-line position on North Korea, which helped him emerge victorious from a recent snap election in Japan.
While playing golf with President Trump, the Prime Minister of Japan took a tumble after trying to get out of a bunker.
During his time in Japan, Mr Trump caused controversy after he appeared to tip a whole box of fish food into a lake as the Japanese Prime Minister was delicately feeding the koi carp. He told a group of American and Japanese business leaders: the United States was open for business, but he wanted to reshape the nations' trade relationship, though he did not say how he would cut the trade deficit with Japan, which totaled almost USD70 billion past year. "And we make the best military equipment by far".
Abe, for his part, publicly deflected questions about trade.
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The press generally declared the game as a "major failure", and the tabloid Nikkan Gendai wrote that Abe was often abandoned on the course by Trump who preferred to golf with Matsuyama. "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, as he told it, wasn't aware of the protocol against president-elects meeting with world leaders.
A Japanese TV channel sent a helicopter to capture Trump and Abe hit the links, according to the Washington Post.
Abe also called Trump his "dear friend" and hailed the benefits of what he called "golf diplomacy". "It is grueling, they tell me".
The U.S. leader, who will visit South Korea on the trip, has rattled some allies with his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the United States and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.