At the banquet at the State Guest House, Japanise Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that President Trump and he are not the first to promote golf diplomacy.
Press Pool left the hotel shortly after 7 p.m. and made a short drive to the Akasaka Palace for a state dinner. Inside the elaborate dining room, which was the same room where Trump and Abe held their news conference, a long head table was at the center with 16 seats.
Seven circular tables were arrayed around the room with 10 seats apiece. Guests milled about including, wait for it, Piko Taro, the famed Japanese creative force behind the Pineapple Pen song. He was decked out in his patented
Guests milled about including Piko Taro, the famed Japanese creative force behind the Pineapple Pen song.
He was decked out in his patented leopard-print robes and had the trademark thin mustache. He spoke with guests in dark suits and held court, telling your pooler that he had not met Ivanka — he seemed disappointed.
During the campaign, Ivanka had Instagrammed a video of her eldest daughter dancing to Taro’s song and the video was retweeted by Justin Bieber, helping the song go viral.
Joining Trump at the head table were Rex Tillerson, McMaster, John Kelly, among others. Potus and Flotus, along with the Abes, entered the ballroom and the two leaders each gave a toast.
Here are the main highlights from Abe’s remarks:
PRIME MINISTER ABE: Good evening, everyone. My name is Shinzo Abe. I’m extremely delighted to host tonight’s banquet here at the State Guest House in honor of the very first visit to Japan by my dear friend, President Trump, and Madam First Lady, Ms. Melania Trump.
Yesterday’s golf diplomacy between Donald and me attracted so much attention, and we actually made everything public, except for the score. And, through golf, we could demonstrate to the world how strong the bond is between Japan and the United States.
But Donald and I are not the first to promote this unique golf diplomacy. Just 60 years ago, my grandfather, Prime Minister Kishi, and President Eisenhower are the ones who initiated this tradition.
And after the golf match, President Eisenhower shared two lessons with Abe’s grandfather.
One, once you become a President of the United States, you need to be at a table with a group of people whom you don’t like to hang out. Second, when it comes to playing golf, you can play golf only with those who you really, really like to hang out.
But speaking of my relationship with President Trump, that is not enough. If I may add another lesson to the legacy of Prime Minister Kishi and President Eisenhower, I would say it like this: When you play golf with someone not just once, but for two times, the person must be your favorite guy.
So, yesterday, we had the pleasure of playing golf together with Mr. Hideki Matsuyama. And, tonight, we are so honored to have the participation of Mr. Isao Aoki, who is a pioneer in Japanese golf. (Applause.)
Even during the time that played golf with President Trump, the President and I were talking about Mr. Aoki. It is all about how his putting that was something that the entire world were mesmerized. And Donald told me as follows: Mr. Aoki’s putting was just like super, super artistic. But you should never try to do the same, because that is the only thing that Mr. Aoki can only do, and you will not be able to do that. So next time we play golf together, I would love to have Mr. Aoki to join us and enjoy the time that I will spend with Mr. Trump.
Speaking of the First Ladies, I understand that my wife Akie and Madam First Lady had a chance to try Japanese calligraphy. Each wrote one Chinese character, or kanji: “hei” by Madam First Lady, which means being smooth and calm; and “wa” by my wife Akie, which stands for harmony. And when combined, these two letters literally mean “peace.” And I think their wonderful joint work represents our alliance very nicely.
Under our alliance, Japan and the United States work hand-in-hand to contribute to regional and global peace.
For two days, President Trump and I spent many, many hours together, and had an in-depth discussion on various global challenges. And I’m particularly grateful for President Trump and Madam First Lady, who kindly spent their time with a former abductee and the family members of those who had been abducted by North Korea.
And it’s been only one year since I first saw President Trump in New York City. And looking back the over the half-century history of Japan-U.S. alliance, we have never seen two leaders of Japan and the United States forging as close relationship as ours and as strong bond in ours in just one year.
Of course, I’m very proud of my relationship with President Trump, but we are not the only ones who have supported this invaluable friendship between Japan and the United States. And on this occasion, I would like to acknowledge tremendous efforts by leaders from various fields, including political, business, and cultural leaders who are here today.
In honor of such contribution to our invaluable friendship, I invited many distinguished guests who have been making every effort to deepen our friendship. And I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation and also ask for further support for the development of our bilateral relationship.
Last but not least, let me share with you my honest impression about President Trump’s visit to Japan this time. As I said, this was the very first visit by President Trump and it was indeed a historic visit. And I do hope that you will enjoy your last night in Tokyo as you wish. And also, I sincerely hope that you will have a really successful trip to Asia this time, which started here in Japan.
So with that, I now would like to propose a toast wishing all the best to President Trump and Madam First Lady, and also wishing for the further development of the friendship between Japan and the United States.