Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan – Joint Presser
1:08 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Prime Minister Abe, on behalf of the American people, I welcome you to the very famous White House. You honor us with your presence. This is one of our earliest visits from a foreign leader, and I am truly glad that it could be from such an important and steadfast ally.
The bond between our two nations, and the friendship between our two peoples, runs very, very deep. This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer. We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control, and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance.
The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Pacific region. It is important that both Japan and the United States continue to invest very heavily in the alliance to build up our defense and our defensive capabilities, which, under our mutual leadership, will become stronger and stronger, and, as time goes by, ultimately they will be impenetrable.
We face numerous challenges, and bilateral cooperation is essential. Our country is committed to being an active and fully engaged partner. We will work together to promote our shared interests, of which we have many in the region, including freedom from navigation and of navigation, and defending against the North Korean missile and nuclear threat, both of which I consider a very, very high priority.
On the economy, we will seek a trading relationship that is free, fair and reciprocal, benefitting both of our countries. The vibrant exchange between us is a true blessing. Japan is a proud nation with a rich history and culture, and the American people have profound respect for your country and its traditions. I also want to take this opportunity, Mr. Prime Minister, to thank you and the people of Japan for hosting our armed forces.
Working together, our two countries have the ability to bring greater harmony, stability and prosperity to the Pacific region and beyond, improving countless lives in the process. We are committed to that goal — highly committed.
Prime Minister Abe, on behalf of the United States of America, I thank you for being with us today. We will soon be traveling to the great state of Florida, where I know we will have a long and very successful talk, negotiations, and a very, very productive weekend.
Mr. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) This is the fourth time in six months for me to visit the United States. The last time was in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii at the end of last year. I am indeed sincerely grateful for the always heartwarming welcome accorded to me by the American people.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to President Trump. Donald, you must have been very busy in this very important period of 100 days after your inauguration. And thank you very much for inviting me over to the White House. My name is Abe, but in the United States some people mistakenly pronounce my name as “Abe.” But that is not bad, because even in Japan everybody knows the name of that great President, that a farmer and carpenter’s son can become a President. And that fact, 150 years ago, surprised the Japanese, who were still under the shogunate rule. The Japanese opened their eyes to democracy. The United States is the champion of democracy.
Donald, President, you are excellent businessman, but you have never been in the Congress or been a governor. You have not experienced being in the public office. But you have fought the uphill struggle and fight for more than a year in the election campaign to become a new President. And this is the dynamism of democracy. I would like to celebrate and congratulate Donald being sworn in as the President.
The United States is a country having the largest number of chances, opportunities in the world. That has always been the case right now, as well as going forward. This will never change. And that is the reason why automotive industries and other Japanese businesses have built factories all over the United States, to engage in local production here. Last year, from Japan to the United States, there have been more than $150 billion of new investment being made into the United States. And those Japanese businesses have created a large number of jobs. The mutually beneficial economic relations have been built by Japan and the United States. With President Trump taking on the leadership, I’m sure there will be — major-scale infrastructure investment will be made, including the fast-speed train.
Those of you who have rode on the Japanese Shinkansen, I’m sure you would appreciate the speed, the comfort and safety with the latest maglev technology. From Washington, D.C. to New York, where Trump Tower exists, only one hour would it take if you ride the maglev train from Washington, D.C. to New York. Japan, with our high level of technical capability, we will be able to contribute to President Trump’s growth strategy. There will be even more new jobs being born in the United States.
And to further deepen these bilateral economic relations between Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence, there will be a cross-sectoral dialogue to be held. And we have agreed on this.
And furthermore, in Asia Pacific, where we see dramatic growth to expand free trade and investment, this will be a big chance for both Japan and the United States. But, of course, it must be done in a fair manner. Never should a state-owned company, backed by state capital, should not make any economic intervention. Free ride on intellectual property should not be condoned. In Asia Pacific region, with Japan and U.S. taking on the leadership to create free and fair market based upon rules, should be built. I and President Trump have confirmed on our strong will to do so.
The cornerstone of peace and prosperity in Asia Pacific, that is the strong Japan-U.S. alliance. And this is unwavering ties between our two countries. I and President Trump will work together to further strengthen our alliance. We have shared this strong resolve.
As we see increasingly difficult security environment, we have confirmed that U.S.-Japan Security Pact Article 5 will be applied to Senkaku Islands. The United States will strengthen its presence in the region. And under the banner of the proactive contribution to peace, Japan will play a greater role. At the same time, we will maintain the deterrence and also to proceed on reducing the impact we had fought through on the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan.
And Henoko’s — relocation to Henoko of the impasse Futenma is the only solution. And Japan and U.S. will continue to work closely on this.
On North Korea, we would strongly demand North Korea to abandon nuclear and ballistic missile program, and not to make any more provocations. And we have completely agreed on the importance of the early solution for the abduction issue in East China Sea, South China Sea, and Indian Ocean — everywhere we need to maintain the freedom of navigation and rule of law. And such international order there must be maintained.
Japan and United States have confirmed that we will strongly protest any use of force, as well as coercion to change the status quo. I and the President will address not only bilateral but regional issues. And we have had a very frank exchange of views on the peace and prosperity of the world that we should contribute, for any form of terrorism should be strongly condemned. And we will cooperate in our fight against terrorism. Japan will, of course, exercise a commensurate role in this regard. And furthermore, the regional conflict of the refugees, of poverty and infectious diseases — there are many challenges faced by the world, which will be a serious issue to threaten the peace and stability for Japan as well as the United States.
But Japan and the United States and the international community must work hand in hand in order to solve these questions. Of course, there are disagreements, but we should not close down dialogue just by pointing to the differences and ignoring the common interests and common goals. We need to have dialogue because there are disagreements. What we mostly desire — what is most desired by those who are challenging the existing international order is to just focus on differences. We should not close the dialogue of Japan — have for four years that I have consistently followed through on our foreign policy.
Now, whatever the challenge and difficulty ahead of us, I and Trump — President Trump will continue our dialogue to seek shared solutions. And after lunch, I am looking forward for a weekend in Florida with Donald. We will play golf together. My scores in golf is not up to the level of Donald at all, but my policy is never up, never in, always aiming for the cup — never cut to just the goal with shortcuts and short chops. Those are the words never found in my dictionary. (Laughter.)
But in a relaxed atmosphere, I hope to take time to discuss with Donald on the future of the world, future of the region, and future of Japan and the United States.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. We’ll take a few questions, unless you don’t want to ask any questions, if that’s possible. Maybe we’ll start — where is Daniel Halper, New York Post? Daniel.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I’m curious about yesterday’s ruling in the 9th Circuit Court. Has it caused you to rethink your use of executive power? And how will you respond? And will you sign new executive orders and perhaps a new travel ban?
And, Mr. Prime Minister, I’m curious about your reaction to America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP. Do you think that that’s weakened America’s position in Asia? And how do you think — how do you envision any sort of trade deal with the President working out?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, your question was unrelated to what we’re here for today, but I’ll answer it. We are going to keep our country safe, we are going to do whatever is necessary to keep our country safe. We had a decision which we think we’ll be very successful with. It shouldn’t have taken this much time because safety is a primary reason. One of the reasons I’m standing here today is the security of our country. The voters felt that I would give it the best security. So we’ll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country. You’ll be seeing that sometime next week.
In addition, we will continue to go through the court process, and ultimately I have no doubt that we’ll win that particular case.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) Now, in the world, we are also facing the issues of the refugees and terrorism. We need to work closely together on these global issues. Japan have always played our own role, but going forward, we will continue to work with the international community to execute our responsibility in a commensurate manner. And each of our country has immigration control scheme, as well as policy on immigration, as well as refugees. These are to do with domestic affairs of that country, so I would refrain from making any comments.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay. Blake Berman, Fox. Blake Berman.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I’d like to pick up where Daniel left off, if you don’t mind. You said earlier this week — and I’m quoting for you — you said, “I’ve learned a lot in the last two weeks, and terrorism is a far greater threat than the people of our country understand, but we’re going to take care of it.”
Based off of what you have learned, and now knowing that your executive order is at least temporarily on hold, do you still feel as confident now as you have been at any point, that you and the administration will be able to protect the homeland?
And, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you. I would just like to pick off again on what Daniel had asked about TPP. Do you feel it’s a mistake that the United States has at least signaled its intention to withdraw from the deal? Thank you, both.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I feel totally confident that we will have tremendous security for the people of the United States. We will be extreme vetting, which is a term that I developed early in my campaign because I saw what was happening. And while I’ve been President, which is just for a very short period of time, I’ve learned tremendous things that you could only learn, frankly, if you were in a certain position, namely, President. And there are tremendous threats to our country. We will not allow that to happen, I can tell you that right now. We will not allow that to happen.
So we’ll be going forward. We’ll be doing things to continue to make our country safe. It will happen rapidly. And we will not allow people into our country who are looking to do harm to our people. We will allow lots of people into our country that will love our people and do good for our country. It’s always going to be that way, at least during my administration, I can tell you that.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) On TPP — oh, of course, we are fully aware of President Trump’s decision. On economic issues, we will be discussing at the working lunch to follow. As for Japan and United States, trade and investment, as well as economic relations, how can we develop and grow our relationship. As I have already mentioned, Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence will create a new framework for dialogue, and I am quite optimistic that the good results will be seen from the dialogue.
Now, for the free and fair common set of rules to be created for the free trade regime in the region, and that was the purpose of TPP, and that importance have not changed. I, myself, believe that.
Q (As interpreted.) Thank you. My name is Hara from NHK. I have a question to Prime Minister Abe. Now, for the automotive market in Japan, as well as foreign exchange of Japan, in the prior remarks there have been discrepancy in your positions. So at the summit meeting, what were the discussions? And were you able to narrow down the gap?
And President Trump had said that he will make the United States a great country. What is meant by the “great country”? And, Prime Minister, what do you mean when you say United States is a great ally for you?
PRIME MINISTER ABE: Now with the birth of the Trump administration, a new genesis will be built between Japan and U.S. in economic relations. In order to put forward such strong message, I have proposed to launch a new framework for economic dialogue, and we were able to agree on this.
As for sectoral discussions, we will be having a discussion at our working lunch. In any case, between President Trump and I, myself, on Japan and U.S. economic relations, we will — we have already agreed that we will have Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Aso to discuss fully on the economic relations between our two countries. And we are looking forward for the good results to ensue from the debate between the experts.
As for the foreign exchange, we will have — Secretary of Treasury and the Minister of Finance will continue the close communication.
For the United States to become a great nation, the various roles played by the United States and the responsibility to go with it, the world over is faced with increasing uncertainty. That United States will become a great America and become a great and strong ally would be good for Japan. And for Japan and U.S. alliance to be further strengthened would be good not only for our two nations, but also contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Asia Pacific and United States to become even greater. We will welcome that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. I will say that — and you’ve seen it — ever since I won the election and became President-elect, I’ve been telling companies, car companies and other companies — many companies: Come back into the United States. And they’ve been coming back in. And big announcements are going to be made over the next short period of time. Some of you already know what those announcements are.
We lost a lot of our factories, a lot of our plants. And those factories and those plants will be coming back. And jobs will be coming back to Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and so many other places where we’ve lost so many jobs. And those are the people that were so good to me, and now I’m being good to them.
So we’ve had a tremendous number of announcements. We’ve had Ford and General Motors and many, many others — Intel yesterday made a major announcement. And they did that because of what is happening with our tax structure, which is going along very well. And we’ll be having some very big news over the next short period of time.
But we are a nation of tremendous potential. And the expression “Make America Great Again,” I will tell you — and I will add very strongly and with great assurance, it will be greater than ever before.
And I just want to thank the Prime Minister for a friendship. We developed a great friendship when we met in New York City, at Trump Tower. We spoke for a long, long period of time. And when I greeted him today at the car, I was saying — I shook hands, but I grabbed him and hugged him because that’s the way we feel. We have a very, very good bond — very, very good chemistry. I’ll let you know if it changes, but I don’t think it will. (Laughter.)
So I just want to thank the Prime Minister for being here. We’re going to be meeting your wife in a very short period of time, and I look very much forward to that.
And I want to thank everybody in the room. We’re going to have a tremendous relationship, long-term relationship of mutual benefit with Japan.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: One more.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, certainly. Go ahead.
Q (As interpreted.) Thank you very much. From Sankei Shimbun, my name is Takita. I have a question to President Trump. Obama administration, under the rebalance to Asia, have emphasized Asia. But China is taking hardline stance in South China Sea, as well as China Sea. And North Korea has went on with the missiles and nuclear development. So some countries in Asia are concerned over commitment of United States in Asia. So against this backdrop, as was mentioned earlier, for the Trump administration, for the situations in Asia, how would you respond to the increasing difficulty here?
And, President, you have repeatedly stated about China taking on the currency — foreign exchange policies which are not good for the United States. Do you think that eventually it will change in the future?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I had a very, very good conversation, as most of you know, yesterday with the President of China. It was a very, very warm conversation. I think we are on the process of getting along very well. And I think that will also be very much of a benefit to Japan. So we had a very, very good talk last night and discussed a lot of subjects. It was a long talk. And we are working on that as we speak. We have conversations with various representatives of China, I believe, that that will all work out very well for everybody — China, Japan, the United States, and everybody in the region.
As far as the currency devaluations, I’ve been complaining about that for a long time. And I believe that we will all eventually — and probably very much sooner than a lot of people understand or think — we will be all at a level playing field, because that’s the only way it’s fair. That’s the only way that you can fairly compete in trade and other things. And we will be on that field, and we will all be working very hard to do great for our country. But it has to be fair. And we will make it fair.
I think the United States is going to be an even bigger player than it is right now, by a lot, when it comes to trade. A lot of that will have to do with our tax policy, which you’ll be seeing in the not-too-distant future. We’ll have an incentive-based policy much more so than we have right now. Right now we don’t even know — nobody knows what policy we have. But we’re going to have a very much incentive-based policy. We’re working with Congress, working with Paul Ryan, working with Mitch McConnell. And I think people are going to be very, very impressed.
We’re also working very much — and this has a lot to do with business — on health care, where we can get great health care for our country at a much-reduced price, both to the people receiving the health care and to our country. Because our country is paying so much, and Obamacare, as you know, is a total and complete disaster. So we’re going to end up with tremendous health care at a lower price. And I think people are going to be extremely happy. Difficult process, but once we get going — and, as you know, Tom Price was just approved a few hours ago. So we finally have our Secretary, and now we get down to the final strokes.
Again, I want to thank everybody for being here. I want to thank Mr. Prime Minister. What an honor, what a great honor it is. And let’s go to Florida. (Applause.)
1:37 P.M. EST