Abe made a strategic decision before Trump was elected to focus on Japan's relationship with the U.S. The courtship began when Abe rushed to NY two weeks after the November 2016 election to meet the president-elect at Trump Tower.
Earlier Sunday, Abe warmly welcomed Trump to Mobara Country Club, south of Tokyo, for a round of golf, their fifth since Trump became president.
"I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's OK", Trump told the group, joking that, "Maybe that's why you like me so much".
The scheduled encounter has raised some controversy in Japan, with protests taking place ahead of the United States president's visit. He will spend four days in Japan, meeting with the Emperor as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
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.
United States officials have played down prospects of any major progress on the President's trip.
Inside Ryogoku Kokugikanto arena, the matches paused and loud cheers erupted from spectators when Trump and Abe walked to their seats.
Trump, the first USA president to watch sumo in the sport's homeland, waved to the audience as he entered the hallowed Kokugikan and then saluted them with applause as they waved and raised their phones to take photos.
On that front, he's largely succeeded. By tradition, they live and train together at each stable, where young apprentices are assigned to cleaning, cooking and other chores for their seniors.
The payoff for Abe's courtship is less clear. USA tariffs could cripple Japan's auto industry, while North Korea remains a destabilizing threat in the region. Melania Trump asked a boy whose name sticker on his chest identified him as Aoi.
Trump had the trophy made for the sumo victor, and Japanese media informally called it the "Trump Cup".
At the awards presentation ceremony, Trump got into the ring and handed the "President's Cup," specially made for the occasion, to the victor, No. 8 maegashira Asanoyama.
CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off the second day of a Japan visit on Sunday with a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, engaging in personal diplomacy aimed at smoothing tough discussions over differences on trade. The White House said the trophy is almost 1.5 metres tall and weighs between 27 kilograms and 32kg.
President Donald Trump has arrived in Japan for a state visit that will make him the first world leader to meet the country's new emperor.
If Japan modifies its four helicopter carriers to launch F-35Bs it will have its first fleet of aircraft carriers since World War II, Green said during a teleconference with reporters Wednesday.
Interested in Donald Trump?"The Japanese diplomatic agenda meant that whoever was president, they had to have the American president first".
On Sunday, Trump and Abe are expected to play golf and attend a sumo match.
His comments came a day after North Korean official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington won't resume unless the US abandons what Pyongyang describes as unilateral disarmament demands. While Trump and other USA officials took a middle-of-the-road approach to the tests, saying the diplomatic relationship with leader Kim Jong Un would continue, Japan took a harder stance, saying the move violated UN resolutions. Japan took a harder stance on this, saying the move violated United Nations resolutions. Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters Saturday in Tokyo before Trump's arrival: "U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles".
Abe has regularly pressed Trump to maintain pressure on Pyongyang, particularly on the matter of Japanese citizens who were abducted by the regime decades ago.
The US president is there to discuss trade and security issues.
Trade, too, has provided heartburn for Abe in his dealings with Trump.
Trump has sought a bilateral deal with Tokyo since he pulled the US from the multinational Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement two years ago, though analysts expect no breakthroughs during the trip. In April Japan's trade surplus surged nearly 18% to 723 billion yen ($6.6 billion). Abe had arrived before and emerged from a motorcade of golf carts after Trump arrived.
US tariffs against Japanese aluminum and steel remain.
He said in his remarks Saturday he was looking to instill the US-Japan trading relationship with "fairness and reciprocity".
Trump also said he enjoyed watching sumo, calling it "an incredible evening". "This is, I think, the moment of truth". It's really to be state guests of their majesties.