Trump becomes first world leader to meet Japan's new emperor during state visit

Kyodo News via Getty ImagesJapanese Emperor Naruhito and US President Donald Trump at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday. Behind are the US first lady, Melania, and Empress Masako.
  • US President Donald Trump has become the first world leader to meet Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
  • Trump met with the 59-year-old emperor and his wife, Empress Masako, on Monday in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo following an elaborate procession in an outdoor welcome ceremony.
  • Trump is in Japan for a four-day state visit, and later in the day he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a range of topics, including North Korea, Iran, and the US trade deficit with Japan.
  • Trump has threatened to impose higher tariffs on imports of Japanese auto parts if the two nations can’t bridge their nearly $US60 billion trade deficit.

US President Donald Trump has become the first world leader to meet Naruhito since the Japanese emperor ascended to the throne earlier this month.

Naruhito’s father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, stepped down from the throne because of health concerns – the country’s first abdication in some 200 years. Naruhito, now the country’s 126th emperor, welcomed in a new era, called “Reiwa” (令和).

Trump met with the 59-year-old and his wife, Empress Masako, in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday following an elaborate procession in an outdoor welcome ceremony. The US president and the first lady, Melania, walked down a red carpet past a Japanese honour guard and were excitedly greeted by crowds waving US and Japanese flags.


Read more:


Here’s everything you need to know about Emperor Naruhito, who has taken over the throne in Japan after the country’s first abdication in 200 years

“It’s a very important thing, not only in Japan, but all over the world they’re talking about it,” Trump later said of his meeting with the emperor.

The emperor exchanged gifts with Trump, as is customary, handing the US president an item of traditional Japanese pottery, while Trump gave Naruhito an American-made viola. The two sides also swapped signed and framed photos of each other, according to The Washington Post.

Trump is in Japan for a four-day state visit, and later in the day he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a range of topics, including North Korea, Iran, and the US trade deficit with Japan. Trump has threatened to impose higher tariffs on imports of Japanese auto parts if the two nations can’t bridge their nearly $US60 billion gap.

Despite trade tensions, Trump maintained at a joint press conference with Abe later in the day that the US relationship with Japan had “never been better” and that the two governments are “very committed to each other.”

Trump and Abe also highlighted the friendly nature of their meeting through their social-media posts, and they even posed for a selfie during a game of golf.

“Great fun and meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.