Mr. Trump’s remarks came on a day of high pomp and plain-spoken politics, which showcased both the president’s fitful adjustment to the rituals of statecraft and his determination to keeping pounding at the hot-button issues that vaulted him into the White House.
Before midday, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko welcomed Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, at the Imperial residence. Afterward, the president was formally received by Mr. Abe on a red carpet at Akasaka Palace, a neo-Baroque building that resembles Buckingham Palace. The two men inspected an honor guard, glittering in gold braid, their rifles fixed with bayonets.
Earlier, however, Mr. Trump used a breakfast meeting of Japanese and American business executives to deliver a scathing critique of the trade relationship between the two countries. Japan, he said, bought virtually no cars from the United States while exporting millions of vehicles into the American market.
“Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over,” Mr. Trump said, disregarding the fact that Japanese carmakers have built huge assembly plants in the United States. “That’s not too much to ask,” he continued. “Is that rude to ask?”